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The First 6 African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires

Madam C. J Walker

Sarah Breedlove (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919), known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an African-American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist. Walker was considered to be the wealthiest African American businesswoman and wealthiest self made woman in America at the time of her death in 1919.[2]Although she was eulogized as the first female self-made millionaire in the US,[3] her estate was worth an estimated $600,000 upon her death.[1] According to Walker’s obituary in The New York Times, “she said herself two years ago [in 1917] that she was not yet a millionaire, but hoped to be some time”.
Walker made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care products for black women through the business she founded, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. Walker was also known for her philanthropy and activism. She made financial donations to numerous organizations and became a patron of the arts. Villa Lewaro, Walker’s lavish estate in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, served as a social gathering place for the African-American community.
Her name, Madam C. J. Walker, came as a result of her marriage to Charles Joseph Walker.

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