Madam C.J. Walker : the making of an American icon

by Ball, Erica,

Format: Print Book 2021
Availability: Available at 8 Libraries 8 of 8 copies
Available (8)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Downtown First Floor - Non-Fiction Collection HD9970.5.C672 W3525 2021x
Location  CLP - Downtown
Collection  First Floor - Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  HD9970.5.C672 W3525 2021x
CLP - East Liberty New Books HD9970.5.C672 W3525 2021x
Location  CLP - East Liberty
Collection  New Books
Call Number  HD9970.5.C672 W3525 2021x
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction HD9970.5.C672 W3525 2021x
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  HD9970.5.C672 W3525 2021x
CLP - Squirrel Hill Non-Fiction Collection HD9970.5.C672 W3525 2021x
Location  CLP - Squirrel Hill
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  HD9970.5.C672 W3525 2021x
Oakmont Carnegie Library Non-Fiction 338.76 BAL
Location  Oakmont Carnegie Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  338.76 BAL
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 338.76 BAL
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  338.76 BAL
South Park Library Biographies 338.7616 WALKER BAL
Location  South Park Library
Collection  Biographies
Call Number  338.7616 WALKER BAL
Upper St. Clair Township Library New Book Shelves - Non-fiction 338.7616 BAL
Location  Upper St. Clair Township Library
Collection  New Book Shelves - Non-fiction
Call Number  338.7616 BAL
Madam C. J. Walker--reputed to be America's first self-made woman millionaire--has long been celebrated for her rags-to-riches story. Born to former slaves in the Louisiana Delta in the aftermath of the Civil War, married at fourteen, and widowed at twenty, Walker spent the first decades of her life as a laundress, laboring in conditions that paralleled the lives of countless poor and working-class African American women. By the time of her death in 1919, however, Walker had refashioned herself into one of the most famous African American figures in the nation: the owner and president of a hair-care empire and a philanthropist wealthy enough to own a country estate near the Rockefellers in the prestigious New York town of Irvington-on-Hudson. In this biography, Erica Ball places this remarkable and largely forgotten life story in the context of Walker's times. Ball analyzes Walker's remarkable acts of self-fashioning, and explores the ways that Walker (and the Walker brand) enabled a new generation of African Americans to bridge the gap between a nineteenth-century agrarian past and a twentieth-century future as urban-dwelling consumers.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "This is an exhaustively detailed account of the life of Madam C.J. Walker, an early twentieth--century self-made entrepreneur who built an international conglomerate by selling beauty and hair-care products specifically designed for African American women. In the early 1900s, Walker celebrated natural beauty during a time when other companies were pushing skin lighteners and straightening lotions. Like her contemporaries Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden, Walker shrouded her early life in mystery, but author Ball (To Live an Antislavery Life, 2012) combines the few known facts with political and social history to create a credible backstory. Once Walker adopts her professional moniker in her mid-thirties, Ball relies on a profusion of testimonials, company advertisements, media releases, and interviews that document her business acumen, storied philanthropy, and copious work for racial uplift. Ball parallels Walker's life with national events, demonstrating how Walker's efforts supported young women of color as they explored their expanding options. An epilogue explores the evolution of Walker's legacy. The daughter of formerly enslaved people, Walker described her life as a journey "from the wash tub . . . to the boardroom." This addition to the Library of African American Biography tells the story of this remarkable woman.Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Ball (To Live an Antislavery Life), a professor of history and Black studies at Occidental College, delivers a concise and revealing biography of hair- and skin-care entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker (1867--1919). Born Sarah Breedlove to former slaves in a one-room cabin on a Louisiana plantation, Walker moved in 1887 or 1888 to St. Louis, where her brothers were barbers. After working as a sales agent for Mrs. Annie Pope's Wonderful Hair Grower, she moved to Denver in 1905 and developed her own line of hair-care products. Walker traveled across the country to promote her business and franchise beauty schools and salons, and by 1911 had 950 agents selling her products nationwide. She also "engag in an array of community-building, philanthropic, and civil rights endeavors," including the NAACP's antilynching crusade. By the time of her death, she was worth $8.7 million in today's money, with a mansion in Westchester County, N.Y., where her neighbors included John D. Rockefeller. Ball persuasively links Walker's self-reinvention as a sophisticated entrepreneur to the transformation of formerly agrarian Black Southerners into a style-conscious and politically active urban Black working class. This brisk and informative account serves as a worthy introduction to a trailblazing businesswoman and social justice advocate. (Jan.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated where the author teaches."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Series Library of African-American biography.
Subjects Walker, C. J., -- Madam, -- 1867-1919.
Cosmetics industry -- United States -- History.
African American women executives -- Biography.
Women executives -- United States -- Biography.
Women millionaires -- United States -- Biography.
Millionaires -- United States -- Biography.
Publisher Lanham, Maryland :2021
Language English
Description xvi, 147 pages ; 24 cm.
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 129-137) and index.
ISBN 9781442260382
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