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  • John Murray
  • John Murray

Self Made: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker

A Lelia Bundles

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: historical, political & military

The award-winning rags-to-riches story of how one woman overcame all odds to build a beauty business empire and become one of the first African-American self-made millionaires - the book behind the Netflix series SELF MADE, starring Octavia Spencer

The book behind the new Netflix series, starring Octavia Spencer

'One of the most fabulous African-American figures of the twentieth century' Ishmael Reed

Madam Walker was the first free-born child in her family, growing up in abject poverty in post-Civil War America. From humble beginnings, she overcame societal prejudice, family betrayals and epic business rivalries to pioneer cosmetics that revolutionised black hair care, build a beauty empire, and become one of the wealthiest self-made women in America.

Not only an astute businesswoman, but a passionate activist and philanthropist, Madam Walker provided jobs and training for thousands of African American women across the country, and used her wealth to fight for equality, forming friendships with important civil rights voices such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington and Ida B. Wells-Barnett along the way.

Drawn from more than two decades of research by her great-great-granddaughter, journalist and historian A'Lelia Bundles, SELF MADE is the definitive biography of Madam Walker's inspirational life and an illuminating insight into the larger African American struggle in the early twentieth century.

'An important piece of history' Washington Post

'A fascinating portrait of an astonishing woman'
Kirkus Reviews


Previously published as ON HER OWN GROUND

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Praise for Self Made: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker

  • A fascinating book about a fascinating woman . . . a wonderful story of an entrepreneur, but also a story about a dedicated African-American woman who was committed to giving her time and money to her community - USA Today

  • Bundles tells the tale with obvious affection and impressive scholarship . . .Walker's fable comes up fresh and inspirational - Chicago Tribune

  • Well-paced and well-written . . . as much social history as biography, filled with the detail and texture of culture and politics - New York Times

  • Vivdly recounts the rise of the washerwoman who would light the way for other black businesswomen, bankroll YMCAs and lead an anti-lynching campaign all the way to the White House - People magazine

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