Every ethnic group has a mythology... Until 'Roots'... there was nothing in the popular culture to refute the paragraph in elementary school history class that said, 'Slaves picked the cotton, were happy and life wasn't so bad.'
You know the AME Church has a history of empowering black people and having an international outlook. So it was the women of the church who began to give Sarah Breedlove an image of herself as something other than an illiterate washerwoman, and she wanted to make her life better, and her daughter's life better.
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.
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.
For all my life, I've been trying to tell Madam's story and really it's a labor of love just to make sure people know about her and the empowerment she gave to other women.
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.
I've always been fascinated by Madam Walker's ability to use her money for political causes. I find her story so inspires people that it gives me great joy to share the story.
I hope that people will be inspired by Madam Walker's story. I hope that they will see her as a complex human being, and that they will want to dig more deeply, that they will want to know the details of her life.
Through the years, Madam Walker has certainly become a staple of anything that has to do with black history, women's history and entrepreneurship.
I've found that once people are introduced to Madam Walker's story, they are inspired but also perplexed about why she was omitted from their history lessons.