One of the key things for me about Madame Walker's life is that she really does represent this first generation out of slavery when black people were reinventing themselves, and as a woman who was the first child in her family born free, she was trying to figure out a way, and she moved from Delta, Louisiana.
Madam Walker, as part of the first generation out of slavery, really was inventing the way that she operated in the world.
For the better part of two centuries, outsiders have been offering explanations that range from racist to learned-sounding - the supposed inferiority of blacks, the heritage of slavery, overpopulation - for why Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
For months it seemed that a revolution was certain. But instead, slavery seems more likely now. The working class no longer has the physical resistance for a revolution, and the Entente is too strong, and Russia is too weak.
As I often say, we have come a long way from the days of slavery, but in 2014, discrimination and inequality still saturate our society in modern ways. Though racism may be less blatant now in many cases, its existence is undeniable.
The flag that was the symbol of slavery on the high seas for a long time was not the Confederate battle flag, it was sadly the Stars and Stripes.
Very early on in the process of trying to sell 'The Summer Prince,' I was told, 'Slavery seems to be very important to this society - is that on purpose?' Well, duh.
We have far more options for black Americans to tell stories outside of slavery, but whenever it comes to slavery, it's an uncomfortable subject. Why? Because it's the most unresolved subject in American history.
It's crazy: the first black man to actually step foot in America came as a free man, as an explorer, with the Spaniards. That's something for me - as a black American, it gives me a little bit of pride because we were free and respected somewhere else before slavery became what it was.
I remember, growing up as a kid, history class was very washed-over. They didn't really get into the gritty bits of slavery. It's a very, very small section in the history books. It's not something they really touch on directly with American curriculums.