On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker

On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker

by A'Lelia Bundles
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On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker by A'Lelia Bundles

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743431729
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 01/28/2002
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 329,548
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

A'Lelia Bundles, an award-winning network television news producer and former ABC News Washington deputy bureau chief, is director of talent development for ABC News. She is the author of numerous essays, articles, and encyclopedia entries about her great-great-grandmother, Madam C.J. Walker, and a young-adult biography, Madam C.J. Walker: Entrepreneur, which won an American Book Award. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Visit her Web site at www.madamcjwalker.com.

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On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely facinating story about determination, drive and the desire to leave the world a better place. Not only was Madam Walker a savvy businesswoman she was also a visionary during a time when to simply survive was a considerable accomplishment. If you want to view a wonderful tapastry that represents the history of African-Americans right after the turn of the last century then this is the book for you. Woven into the account of Madam C.J. Walker's success is her participation in the political struggles of her day; we watch her participate in and influence the formation of legendary African-American organizations and we observe her with the great thinkers of the day, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary McLeod Bethune as well as the artists of the Harlem Renaissance. Equally as important, we learn how she inspired and taught disenfranchised black women of her day to become financially independent dispite the odds against them. She developed a successful hair formula and a formula for success, and again, in defiance of the times, she was absolutely proud and unapologetic, refusing to accept the 'condescending tones' that would describe her as 'quiet and unassuming'. 'She was anything but quiet and unassuming', and perhaps that is her most important contribution.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an African American female and native Louisianan, I feel very close to the legacy of Madam Walker. The book gives the nuts and bolts of how Madam amassed her fortune- with God's help and just plain old hard work. Her story is inspiring and is a valuable lesson to anyone who desires success as an entrepreneur. Madam's marketing finesse and ability to reinvent herself individually, corporately, socially, and politically should be studied in marketing/business education. I originally thought the book was going to be about hair. But her business acumen and philanthropy is more of what this book is about. I rate it a 5 because it is historical but yet has practical application for today.
2KnitOrNaught More than 1 year ago
I had always wondered about Madam CJ Walker. This history is written by her great granddaughter I believe. It is a compeling and thoughtful rendering of a life somewhat reworked by the one living it. She attemps to define fact from fiction. Remembering that there were efforts both private and public by ancestor to rewrite history for reasons most human. Overall, though this is a story of a life well lived blending events of joy and sorrow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love madam CJ walker,she's a great role model and im only 11!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I used thi,s book for black history. I love it!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have low tollerance for them they look like dog shyt and they are ignorant but