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Beauty Blog

Aly Phant's Black Elephants Blog

Profile: Annie Turnbo Malone

Black Elephants

Who is Annie Turnbo Malone?

During your research from last weekend, this name should have come up as Madame C. J. Walker's first employer. So who is she? Well, she is the daughter of escaped slaves born August 9, 1869. After losing her parents at a young age, she lived with her siblings and learned chemistry while attending high school.

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Around 1900, Malone began taking great interest in hair and hair care. With her chemistry background, she developed new products for the African American hair texture including non-damaging hair straighteners, special hair oils, and hair growth stimulators. Her hair care product line became an instant hit.

To grow her business, she moved her business to St. Louis in 1902 in preparation for the 1904 World's Fair. Two years later, she rebranded her line under the name Poro and exploded onto the national scene. Some say Malone is the true first female millionaire and the real pioneer in launching the African American hair care industry.

Unfortunately, her legacy suffered because of her high profile divorce, multiple lawsuits from former employees, and having no offspring to take over the business. However, maybe we can help Annie Turnbo Malone finally climb out from under Walker's shadow. Spread the word this month on who she is and why she matters!

Have a blessed week!

Profile: Madame C. J. Walker

Black Elephants

Who is Madame C. J. Walker? <insert Jeopardy music here>

She was born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867 to former slave parents in Delta, Louisiana. At the young age of 14, she married Moses McWilliams. She had one daughter, A'lelia, with him before he passed away. In 1906, she married Charles Joseph Walker.

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During the 1890s, Sarah started going bald. She tried home-made remedies and store bought products. One of those products was made by Annie Malone who she later worked for. After changing her name to Madame C. J. Walker, she opened up her own hair care line. She started her first beauty school in 1908 and established her first factory in 1910.

Walked became the first female self-made millionaire in the US. She built her business on the Walker Method which included applying Wonderful Hair Grower pomade and using hot combs to straighten hair. She grew her business by building a network of Walker Women who sold the products door-to-door.

Let her story inspire you to not give up. Use your lemons to make lemonade.

Have a blessed weekend!

Profile: Garrett Augustus Morgan

Black Elephants

Do you know who Garrett Augustus Morgan is? I'll give you a second to google it.

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Garrett Augustus Morgan was an African American inventor. He invented both the traffic signal and the gas mask. He was born in 1877 to former slaves in Paris, Kentucky where he attended elementary school. He moved to Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 14 where he worked and continued his education by hiring a tutor. Later, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio taking work repairing sewing machines.

During this time, Morgan experimented with chemicals to prevent the high-speed sewing needles from scorching the fabric. He accidentally figured out that his needle polish could also straighten out hair. He invented the very first hair relaxer!

For the next 100 years, the creamy crack became a hair care staple. Today, many African Americans are going natural and chemical-free even while the relaxer business is booming greater than ever. I won't say stop using a relaxer. If you choose to relax, please follow all manufacturer directions. Remember, you are handling a chemical that is designed to break down a curl by altering the molecular bonds within the hair.

Have a blessed week and a blessed Black History Month!