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Beauty Blog

Aly Phant's Black Elephants Blog

Profile: Marjorie Stewart Joyner

Black Elephants

Who is Marjorie Stewart Joyner?

Marjorie Stewart Joyner was born October 24, 1896 in Monterey, Virginia. In 1912, she moved to Chicago to study cosmetology at A. B. Molar Beauty School becoming the its first African American graduate. She later married and opened her own salon.


Joyner was later introduced to Madame C. J. Walker who hired her as a national advisor to oversee 200 of Walker's beauty schools. A few years later, Joyner became the first African American to receive a U. S. patent (or at least the first related to the beauty industry) for her permanent wave machine.

This revolutionary device allowed the client to have their hair straightened or curled quickly while keeping the just-got-my-hair-done hairstyle lasting days rather than hours. The machine was used by both black and white salons. The patent legally belonged to the Walker company and so too were its profits.

While she continued her work for Walker, she also accomplished much as a civil rights leader. She organized the annual Bud Billiken Parade for Chicago's African American community, founded the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association, and fundraised for the Bethune-Cookman College.

Have a blessed weekend and a Happy Valentines!