Why is she Mrs. C.J. Walker? It really was a matter of her trying to insist that people respect her, because during that time, white people would call any black woman 'Sally.' 'Aunt Sally.' So this was like... you can't call me that.
My mother was the fourth generation of women to have worked with the Walker company. As a little girl, I would go to her office while she worked. She was a very capable woman.
Both my parents worked at the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, with my dad eventually being hired by another company called Summit Laboratories that made chemical hair straighteners.
I began to discover that, in addition to her stunning achievements, there were flaws as there would be in any person's life. I wanted to tell Madam's story in an honest, frank way.
If a CEO takes an interest in you and he happens to be an Asian man, then that's great, but as an African-American woman, you want to make sure that if the executive vice-president of the company is an African-American woman that you get to know her.
Many people have told me that once they learn of Madam Walker's accomplishments they are surprised, even embarrassed, that they have never heard of her. But they shouldn't be. Her extraordinary story was simply omitted from the history books.
As much as any woman of the twentieth century, Madam Walker paved the way for the profound social changes that altered women's place in American society.
For many years Madam Walker was just a little footnote in history. As a woman who made haircare products, she was really consigned to something trivial.
Through the years, Madam Walker has certainly become a staple of anything that has to do with black history, women's history and entrepreneurship.
There are literally hundreds of stories about women of color that haven't been told that are amazing, fantastic, better than anything else.