Black History Month is important to honor. Black Americans have come from a history of trials and tribulations—to put it lightly, and still today they have many obstacles to overcome to have their voices heard. We are certain there is much to learn from Black Americans and their past experiences that shape today’s world and hope you will come learn alongside us as well.
We would like to take this month to focus our ears and eyes on the Black Women in America who have made great strides in our country.
This is Black Herstory.
The first woman we will learn about comes from the way past (as in late 1800s), but trust that she still has much to teach us. Her name is Madam C.J. Walker. She’s an icon when it comes to entrepreneurship and was the first female self-made millionaire in America. *OMG*
Her climb to success was not easy. She was the youngest of six and the only one of her siblings that was not born into slavery. When her parents passed, she became an orphan at a young age. She lived with a brother-in-law until she married and had a child of her own.
When her husband passed, she moved to St. Louis to be close to family. Determined to give her daughter a formal education, she worked hard as a laundress. That is, until she continued to run into a problem. She and many other Black women of this era often suffered scalp and skin conditions. (which does not sound fun)
Madam C.J. Walker’s response?
Find the solution.
She studied and developed products that would aid in fixing these problems and began to sell door to door where she would even teach women how to style their hair. Her business took off in the following years and her next move was to teach others how to be financially independent too. *Okay, wow, incredible*
But wait, there’s more. With her wealth, she donated to orphanages, institutions, and individual people and became highly involved in political and social activism.
We love her story not because she grew from being the child of an enslaved person to a millionaire. That would gravely miss the point. We love that she knew her worth and demanded to be taken seriously. We love that she was a teacher at heart and knew the value others could bring if given the tools. She was brave. She took chances. She stood up for others. She changed the way women thought about entrepreneurship.
We leave you with this question: What can you do to amplify the voices of the Black women in your life?