Her dream of dreams: the rise and triumph of Madam C.J. Walker

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Alfred A. Knopf, Apr 22, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 481 pages
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I am a woman that came from the cotton fields of the South; I was promoted from there to the wash-tub; then I was promoted to the cook kitchen, and from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations." --Madam C. J. Walker, National Negro Business League Convention, 1912Now, from a writer acclaimed for her novels and the memoir Crossed Over, a remarkable biography of a truly heroic figure.Madam C. J. Walker created a cosmetics empire and became known as the first female self-made millionaire in this nation's history, a noted philanthropist and champion of women's rights and economic freedom. These achievements seem nothing less than miraculous given that she was born, in 1867, to former slaves in a hamlet on the Mississippi River. How she came to live on another river, the Hudson, in a Westchester County mansion, and in a New York City town house, is at once inspirational and mysterious, because for all that is known about the famous entrepreneur, much that occurred before her magnificent transformation-years that trace a circuitous route across the country-remains obscure. By breathing life into scattered clues and dry facts, and with a deep understanding of the times and places through which Madam Walker moved, Beverly Lowry tells a story that stretches from the antebellum South to the Harlem Renaissance and bridges nearly a century of our history in her search for the distant truths of a woman who defied all odds and redefined conventional expectations."Wherever there was one colored person, whether it was a city, a town, or a puddle by the railroad tracks, everybody knew her name." --Violet Davis Reynolds, Stenographer, Madam C. J. Walker Co

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Her dream of dreams: the rise and triumph of Madam C. J. Walker

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Historians have largely overlooked the remarkable success of Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919) in establishing a line of hair products for African Americans and amassing a personal fortune. On Her Own ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

The author of six novels—and of Crossed Over, the story of her friendship with Karla Faye Tucker—Beverly Lowry is the director of the Creative Nonfiction Program at George Mason University. She lives in Washington, D.C.