By Mary Giorgio

“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 C.J. Walker, July 1912

Widely known for manufacturing a successful line of African American haircare products, Madam C.J. Walker rose from a life of poverty to unprecedented wealth.

Within a decade, Walker turned her business into an empire, becoming the second female millionaire in the United States (after her mentor, Annie Malone). When she moved her company headquarters to Indianapolis in 1910, the impact on the African-American community was profound.