Madame CJ Walker: A Self-Made Woman

Portrayed by Daisy Century

CJ Walker as Portrayed by Daisy Century

Born with the name Sarah Breedlove, Madame C.J. Walker was an entrepreneur, and an early civil rights advocate who sought equality for African Americans. As America’s first female self-made millionaire, she was a philanthropist who was an enthusiastic financial supporter of Black Colleges and Universities.

Walker amassed her fortune through dedication, hard work, and innovation. She began with a small “Special Correspondence Course” business, founded on her System of Beauty Culture. This self described “hair-growing” business, was borne out her desire to remedy her own hair loss. On September 19th, 1911 the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company of Indiana, Inc. wherein Madame Walker was the President and sole shareholder, was incorporated. As she focused on growing hair, her business also grew rapidly.

Her dedication extended not only to her wok but to her community as well. Walker began teaching other African American women how they too could likewise succeed in business and was sought after to lecture on social, political, and economic topics. Walker was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was instrumental in their efforts to make lynching a federal crime. Walker is was recognized by the National Association Of Colored Women (NACW) for making the largest contribution to save the home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. She donated throughout her career to the NAACP, the YMCA, and to black schools, organizations, individuals, orphanages, as well as retirement homes.

Dr. Daisy Century recalls the thrill of receiving a standing ovation for her 3rd grade recitation of The Creation and credits this as the beginning of her desire to perform. Trained as a teacher, Dr. Century earned a BA in Biology at Claflin College, a Master’s in Science Education from South Carolina University and a PhD from Temple University, also in Science Education. This naturally talented teacher and actor couples scientific methods with creative imagination in order to discover how the historical characters she interprets would respond to a given situation. An inspiring educator whose students have returned year after year to thank Dr. Century for the difference she has made in their lives, Daisy has continued to inspire through her thoroughly-researched, dramatically intense portrayals. Dr. Century is a published author, writing under the name Emily Nelson, and is an accomplished singer.

Daisy Century: Bio of Actor/Historian