Madame C. J. Walker Passed Us the Ball. We Dropped It.

"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." Madame CJ Walker

During this month as we recognize African-Americans' achievements, no doubt Madame C. J. Walker will be a prominent figure, as she indeed should be. She was born of former slaves and was orphaned at an early age. Yet despite her impoverished background, she founded her own company and became the first female to become a millionaire because of her own achievements.

Now, I suppose that if you lived in the days Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company was founded, the future of industry for Black America would seem exceptionally bright. After all, an innovative African-American lady has already taken steps to establishing the hair care industry for us and has become a millionaire. With additional work, we could have a thriving economy. If you fast-forward to 2010, however, you can see that this magnificent dream was shattered because unfortunately, although Blacks didn't realize that big money was to be made in our hair care industry, others did. The Koreans and other ethnicities took over the Black hair care industry and helped turn it into the $9 billion dollar giant that it is today--money that could be used to reduce our poverty and further our own community. What makes this even more disturbing is that Madam C.J. Walker was able to achieve such success even though she was born in poverty and had to confront the enormous set backs of being both African-American and a woman (she even died before women had the right to vote for goodness sake). With all of the opportunities we have today, there is no excuse for us allowing others to takeover our own industry. We control where the money goes, and we are responsible for whether or helps us or lines another's pocket.

Madam C.J. Walker innovation is inspirational but it should certainly not ended. We must follow her example and control our own economies.

Our people have to be made to see that any time you take your dollar out of your community and spend it in a community where you don't live, the community where you live will get poorer and poorer, and the community where you spend your money will get richer and richer. Then you wonder why where you live is always a ghetto or a slum area...it's time now for our people to be come conscious of the importance of controlling the economy of our community. If we own the stores, if we operate the businesses, if we try and establish some industry in our own community, then we're developing to the position where we are creating employment for our own kind. -- Malcolm X, The Ballot or the Bullet. Read here or listen below

Black Owned Manufactures and Non-Black Owned Manufactures




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