Madam Walker was a master marketer. But her brilliance was in taking it to another level by training women, by traveling, by making very motivational speeches and by providing independent income for women who otherwise would have to be maids and sharecroppers.
A'Lelia Walker did not subsidize specific writers, but she provided a place for all kinds of people to gather. She was one of the few blacks who had the money to allow her to entertain in the large scale.
To her credit, Madam Walker discerned that black women wanted to conform to white Victorian models of beauty. She was aware of the double- sidedness of her products - helping black women appear more European in look, with straight hair - but she always maintained that she was simply selling products that promoted hair growth.
Madam Walker's legacy lives in her philanthropy as well as in an amazing line of hair care products.
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.
People will buy products for quality, and they will buy products for bargains.
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.
So Madam C.J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower, when applied after shampooing the hair more frequently, allowed women's scalp to be healthier and their hair to grow back. That was her most popular product.
Wearing your hair natural is a positive statement about who you are. It's not a protest to somebody else. It's affirming you.
If you wear your hair straight or natural, it's all fine with me. It doesn't mean that you aren't politically conscious or that you don't have good thoughts about progress.