Given the current economic crisis (and the fact that Slumdog Millionaire cleaned up at last night's Oscars), it seemed high time we dedicated the Adventures in Feministory segment of the blog to a woman who was all about the Benjamins. We could all use a little financial inspiration these days, right?
So stop clipping those coupons, put off your dumpster diving until the weather gets a little warmer, and read on to learn more about Madam CJ Walker, the first African American woman to become a self-made millionaire. Let's hope that her entrepeneurial spirit and skill at crafting hair care products for black women (her specialty) will inspire some of us to follow in her feministory footsteps.
By 1910 Walker had moved her business to Indianapolis, and by 1917 it was the largest African American-owned business in the country. Not content just to be a millionaire (the first self-made female millionaire in history, according to the Guiness Book of World Records) Walker also dedicated herself to helping others. She was an active donor and philanthropist, giving thousands of dollars (worth even more back then) to the NAACP anti-lynching fund and the Tuskegee Institute. She also prided herself in offering employment to thousands of black women who worked for her as cosmetics agents. An inspiration, indeed!