“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


Nonfiction biographies about Madam Walker:

On Her Own Ground:  The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker
by A’Lelia Bundles
(Scribner/A Lisa Drew Book, February 2001)
ISBN 0-6848-2582-1
(Based on nearly three decades of research, this is the first truly comprehensive
and fully documented biography about Madam Walker.)

Madam C. J. Walker–Entrepreneur by A’Lelia Bundles
(Chelsea House, 1991)
(This young adult biography was the first book-length treatment of Madam Walker.
In 1992 it received an American Book Award and was named a New York Public
Library Best Books for the Teen Age in 1992.)

Internet Links:

Madam Walker Articles and Videos: Click here for several links
Harvard Business School Madam Walker Case Study
HBS Working Knowledge June 25, 2007

Video: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis discusses Madam Walker with A’Lelia Bundles
Women’s History Month 2010

Library of Congress Bibliography
Madam Walker and Beauty Industry Sources 2010

Madam Walker: Business Savvy to Generous Philanthropy
America.gov/State Department March 1, 2010

Video: A’Lelia Bundles speaks at the D. C. Commission for Women Jan 27, 2010
Walker’s Legacy: Natalie Cofield interviews A’Lelia Bundles

A’Lelia Bundles: Five Point Hair Manifesto for Black Women

A’Lelia Bundles “Unpacking Harlem History”

Click here for links to dozens of articles about Madam Walker
Madam Walker Articles

Related Websites on the Internet:

This is the most reliable and accurate source of information about Madam Walker
on the Internet.

www.IndianaHistory.org andhttp://www.googlesyndicatedsearch.com/u/IHS?query=Madam+Walker

The Madam Walker Collection, which includes extensive primary source documents about Madam Walker’s life and business, is housed at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis, IN. Wilma Moore is the senior archivist of African American Collections.

(The Madame Walker Theatre Center in Indianapolis)

Go to “Two American Entrepreneurs:  Madam C. J. Walker and
J. C. Penney” (National Park Service “Teaching with Historic Places”)

Please be careful when you do research on the Internet about Madam Walker.
There is a lot of misinformation on the web.

Blogs and Internet Articles
AAUW blog post about Madam Walker February 26, 2009

Books for elementary school readers that we recommend:

Vision of Beauty by Kathryn Lasky  (Candlewick Press, 2000)

Madam C. J. Walker:  Pioneer Businesswoman by Marian W. Taylor
(Chelsea House, 1994)

Madam C. J. Walker:  Self-Made Millionaire by Patricia and Fredrick
McKissack (Enslow Publishers, 1992)

Mystery of the Dark Tower by Evelyn Coleman
American Girl History Mysteries (Pleasant Company Publications, 2000)

Madam C. J. Walker: Entrepreneur by A’Lelia Bundles
(Chelsea House,1991)

Books that include accurate information about Madam Walker:

When and Where I Enter by Paula Giddings (William Morrow, 1982)

Hair Raising by Noliwe Rooks (Rutgers University, 1996)

Hope in a Jar by Kathy Peiss (Henry Holt, 1998)

We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters by Cokie Roberts (William Morrow, 1998)

Books that include information about A’Lelia Walker*:

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 these books were published, so be
careful to confirm facts.)

Books with essays about Madam Walker by A’Lelia Bundles
“Let Me Correct the Erroneous Impression. . .”     in Tenderheaded
by Pamela Johnson and Juliette Bowles (Simon & Schuster,
forthcoming February 2001)

“Madam C. J. Walker” in Black Women in America edited by Darlene
Clark Hine, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn and Elsa Barkley Brown
(Carlson Publishing Company, 1993)

“Madam C. J. Walker” in Encyclopedia of African American Culture and
History edited by Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith and Cornel
West (Macmillan, 1996)

“Madam C. J. Walker” in Encyclopedia of  Indianapolis edited David J.
Bodenhamer (Indiana University Press, 1994)

“Madam C. J. Walker” in Notable American Philanthropists: A Biographical
Encyclopedia edited Robert T. Grimm (IU Press, forthcoming 2001)

“Foreword” in Let’s Talk Hair by Pamela Ferrell (Washington, D.C.:
Cornrows & Company, 1996)

“Foreword” in Why Black Women Are Losing Their Hair by Barry Fletcher (2000)

“Madam C. J. Walker:  Pioneering Entrepreneur” in ASALH’s African
Americans in Business:  The Path Towards Empowerment
(Associated Publishers, 1992)

“Madam C. J. Walker” in Annual Editions American History, Vol. II:
Reconstruction through the Present edited by Robert James
Maddox (Dushkin Publishing Group, 1997)

“My Foremothers” in My Mother Had a Dream edited by Tamara
Nikuradse (Dutton, 1996)

Magazine/Newspaper Articles about Madam Walker by A’Lelia Bundles:

“Writing On Her Own Ground,” Inside Borders, February 2001

“A Firm Foundation: Madam Walker and the AME Church,” A.M.E. Church Review, Fall 2000

“The Power of Persistence:  A Tale of Madam C. J. Walker and Booker T. Washington” in Opportunity, February 2000

“Madam C. J. Walker” in American History, August 1996

“Madam C. J. Walker–Cosmetics Tycoon” in Ms., July 1983

“A Letter to My Great-Great-Grandmother, Madam C. J. Walker” in Radcliffe Quarterly, December 1987

“Madam C. J. Walker to Her Daughter A’Lelia Walker–The Last Letter”  in SAGE: A Scholarly Journal for Black Women, Vol. 1 No. 2 (Fall   1984)

“Sharing the Wealth,” Radcliffe Quarterly, Dec. 1991

“Then. . .Madam C. J. Walker Inspired Philanthropy” in The Crisis,  July 1998

“Moving the Agenda Forward:  Madam Walker’s Philanthropy” in Vital Issues:  The Journal of African American Speeches, Winter 1999

“Madam C. J. Walker, 1867-1919,” Hayes Historical Journal, Fall 1992/Winter 1993

Magazine Articles about Madam Walker:

“A Great-Great-Granddaughter’s Gift,” Glamour, March 1998

Donna Britt –“She Wore the Stamp of Greatness,” Washington Post, May 15, 1998
–“Black Hair:  What’s a Girl to Do?” Washington Post, Sept. 15, 1995

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “Madam’s Crusade” in Time, Dec. 7, 1998

Sylvia Moreno, “Inspired by Madam C. J. Walker,” Washington Post, Feb. 12, 1998

Please note:

We do not recommend novels or other fictional accounts of Madam Walker’s life because of the inaccurate information which they may contain.

The Madam Walker Papers are located at the Indiana Historical Society Library in Indianapolis, Indiana. Wilma Gibbs is the archivist who oversees the collection.


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