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On her own ground : the life and times of Madam C.J. Walker
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Written by her great-great-grandaughter, the biography of one of history's great entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Madam C. J. Walker, is told through personal letters, records, and never-before-seen photographs from the family collection. 50,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Written by her great-great-granddaughter, a biography of the entrepreneur and philanthropist Madam C.J. Walker is told through personal letters, records, and photographs from the family collection. - (Baker & Taylor)

On Her Own Ground is the first full-scale, definitive biography of Madam C. J. Walker -- the legendary African American entrepreneur and philanthropist --by her great-great-granddaughter, A'Lelia Bundles. The daughter of slaves, Madam C. J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at fourteen and widowed at twenty. She spent the better part of the next two decades laboring as a washerwoman for $1.50 a week. Then -- with the discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women -- everything changed. By her death in 1919, Walker managed to overcome astonishing odds: building a storied beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women and devoting her life to philanthropy and social activism. Along the way, she formed friendships with great early-twentieth-century politi-cal figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. On Her Own Ground is not only the first comprehensive biography of one of recent history's most amazing entrepreneurs and philanthropists, it is about a woman who is truly an African American icon. Drawn from more than two decades of exhaustive research, the book is enriched by the author's exclusive access to personal letters, records and never-before-seen photographs from the family collection. Bundles also showcases Walker's complex relationship with her daughter, A'Lelia Walker, a celebrated hostess of the Harlem Renaissance and renowned friend to both Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. In chapters such as "Freedom Baby," "Motherless Child," "Bold Moves" and "Black Metropolis," Bundles traces her ancestor's improbable rise to the top of an international hair care empire that would be run by four generations of Walker women until its sale in 1985. Along the way, On Her Own Ground reveals surprising insights, tells fascinating stories and dispels many misconceptions. - (Simon and Schuster)

Author Biography

A'Lelia Bundles is the former Washington deputy bureau chief for ABC News and was an award-winning network news producer with ABC and NBC for more than twenty years. She is the author of numerous essays, articles and encyclopedia entries about Madam C. J. Walker and a young adult book, Madam C. J. Walker, which won an American Book Award. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia. - (Simon and Schuster)

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Booklist Reviews

Bundles, a journalist and great-great-granddaughter of Madam C. J. Walker, offers a lively portrait of a fascinating American businesswoman. Walker, the first freeborn child of slaves, rose from poverty to establish a fabulously successful hair-care business, became one of the wealthiest women in the U.S., and devoted herself to a life of activism and philanthropy toward race and women's issues. Using personal papers, letters, newspaper accounts, and interviews with people who knew Walker, Bundles conveys the spirit and drive of the woman and the personal and public challenges she faced. Walker made powerful friends and was active, along with Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois, in fighting racial discrimination and violence. A business innovator, Walker created a national sales force "expressly organized around the principles of corporate responsibility, social betterment, and racial justice." Bundles dispels misconceptions about Walker: she did not invent the straightening comb nor necessarily advocate that black women straighten their hair, and she was not a millionaire when she died in 1919, but had she lived longer, she was definitely headed in that direction. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews

Table of Contents

Biological Ancestors of Fairy Mae Bryant 9(10)
Descendants of Owen Breedlove, Sr 10(5)
Prologue 15(10)
Freedom Baby
Motherless Child
Wife, Mother, Widow
St. Louis Woman
Answered Prayers
World's Fair
On the Road
Bold Moves
``The Salvation of Your Boys and Girls''
``I Promoted Myself. . .''
Breaking Ties, Making Ties
Sweet Satisfaction
New Horizons
Black Metropolis
Southern Tour
``We Should Protest''
War Abroad, War at Home
Her Dream of Dreams
Global Visions
``I Want to Live to Help My Race''
A'Lelia Walker: An Afterword 278(15)
Epilogue 293(2)
Endnotes 295(78)
Selected Bibliography 373(14)
Permissions 387(2)
Acknowledgments 389(6)
Index 395

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