Madam C.J. Walker: The Recipe For Healthy Hair
Her parents died when she was only seven years old.
She was married by age 14.
Then widowed at age 20.
From all angles, this sounds like a life that was off to a rough start. And it was for Sarah Breedlove aka Madam C.J. Walker, but more often than not, necessity is the mother of invention.
Orphaned at age seven, she often said, “I got my start by giving myself a start.” She and her older sister, Louvenia, survived by working in the cotton fields of Delta and nearby Vicksburg, Mississippi. At 14, she married Moses McWilliams to escape abuse from her brother-in-law, Jesse Powell.
Her only daughter, Lelia (later known as A’Lelia Walker) was born on June 6, 1885. When her husband died two years later, she moved to St. Louis to join her four brothers who had established themselves as barbers. Working for as little as $1.50 a day, she managed to save enough money to educate her daughter in the city’s public schools.