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Former Governor Daniels > Hoosier Heritage Gallery > Madam C.J. Walker Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker: This daughter of former slaves transformed herself from an uneducated farm laborer and laundress into one of the twentieth century's most successful, self-made women entrepreneurs. To promote her products, the Madam Walker traveled for a year and a half on a dizzying crusade throughout the heavily black South and Southeast, selling her products door to door, demonstrating her scalp treatments in churches and lodges, and devising sales and marketing strategies. In 1910 she moved to Indianapolis where she built a factory and established the headquarters of the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company which remained in Indianapolis for more than seven decades.

As her business grew, Walker organized her agents into local and state clubs. Her Madam C. J. Walker Hair Culturists Union of America convention in Philadelphia in 1917 must have been one of the first national meetings of businesswomen in the country. Walker used the gathering not only to reward her agents for their business success, but to encourage their political activism as well. "This is the greatest country under the sun," she told them. "But we must not let our love of country, our patriotic loyalty cause us to abate one whit in our protest against wrong and injustice."

Tenacity and perseverance, faith in herself and in God, quality products and "honest business dealings" were the elements and strategies she prescribed for aspiring entrepreneurs. "There is no royal flower-strewn path to success," she once said. "If I have accomplished anything in life it is because I have been willing to work hard." http://www.madamecjwalker.com/