“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations….I have built my own factory on my own ground.”

Madam Walker
July 1912

A'Lelia Bundles Talks About Madam Walker

Madam Walker's Secrets to Success

If you're doing research about Walker, you'll find dozens of articles, videos and links in our special Black History Report Guide.

For media queries and licensing questions, please contact Walker's biographer and great-great-granddaughter, A'Lelia Bundles at www.aleliabundles.com ...but if you are writing a Black History Report, please click here first.

Visit us on Facebook and like our Madam Walker pages at Madam Walker Bio and Madam Walker Family Archives.

Learn more about Madam Walker from A'Lelia Bundles, her great-great-granddaughter and official biographer. Click here for a new video. MW I Got My Start with Scurlock

A’Lelia Bundles, Madam CJ Walker Family Archives

A’Lelia Walker

“Joy Goddess” of the Harlem Renaissance


The only child of Madam C. J. Walker, A’Lelia Walker (pronounced Ah-LEEL-ya) hosted one of the most memorable salons of the Harlem Renaissance. At “The Dark Tower,” a converted floor of her elegant New York townhouse, she entertained Harlem and Greenwich Village writers, artists and musicians, as well as visiting African and European royalty. Her parties, as well as her regal African beauty, lavish clothing and glamorous lifestyle inspired poets, painters and sculptors. Langston Hughes called her the “joy goddess of Harlem’s 1920’s.” Zora Neale Hurston outlined a play about her and her mother.

A’Lelia Walker helped her mother found the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company in 1906, then opened its New York office and beauty salon in 1913. Upon Madam Walker’s death in 1919, she became president of the Walker Company. During a trip to Europe, Africa and the Middle East in 1921 and 1922, she became one of the only westerners to visit Ethiopian Empress Waizeru Zauditu.

Walker, whose birth name was Lelia McWilliams, was born in 1885. She died in 1931.

A’Lelia Bundles, the great-granddaughter of A’Lelia Walker, is at work on the first major biography of her famous namesake. For more information about this project visit www.aleliabundles.com

For more information about A’Lelia Walker, we recommend the following books:
On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker by A’Lelia Bundles
The Big Sea by Langston Hughes
When Harlem Was in Vogue by David Levering Lewis
This Was Harlem by Jervis Anderson
Power of Style by Carole Marks

*(Additional research has been done since the Hughes, Lewis, Anderson and Marks books were published, so be careful to confirm facts.)

[For historical research about A’Lelia Walker, contact her biographer A’Lelia Bundles at www.aleliabundles.com]

Click here for an essay about A’Lelia Walker.