Pioneer millionaire

Photo by Ed Sloiatkowski

Before Reginald Lewis, before Bruce Llewellyn, before John Johnson, there was Madame C.J. Walker, a trailblazer for black entrepreneurs in America. She built a hair-care products empire in the early 20th century, in time becoming one of America’s first African-American woman millionaires, a noted philanthropist and a hero to African-Americans and women alike.

Her great-great-granddaughter, former ABC News Deputy Washington Bureau Chief A’Lelia Bundles (photo), has just completed a new biography of Walker, “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madame C.J. Walker.” As part of its celebration of Black History Month, the Penn Bookstore will host Bundles Feb. 9 for a discussion and book signing.


A’LELIA BUNDLES: Noon Friday, Feb. 9, at the Penn Bookstore, 3601 Walnut St. Free.


Originally published on February 1, 2001