Since my recovery from an aneurysm in November, my brain isn’t fully functional. I loose my train of thought, which means my writing may also seem a bit scattered. I apologize and I am trying to keep up on my blog stories. Bear with me…..and enjoy a continuation of last weeks story.
While researching Madam CJ Walker, other strong women surfaced. First, Annie Turnbo Malone, the mentor of CJ Walker. Her great, great grand- niece Sasha Turnbo, has committed to making sure her legacy doesn’t go unnoticed. Many knew her as a “shero” in St. Louis’ black community. Knowing her story, helps us know Ms. Walker a little bit better. I encourage you to read this interview, in the attached link. Annie’s number one goal was to lift others up, including Sarah Breedlove, better known as CJ Walker, who went on to create her own hair grow products. Annie was nothing like the Self Made character, Addie, and was the first woman millionaire, although CJ got the credit as first.
Madam CJ’s great, great, granddaughter A’Leila Bundles, attended Radcliffe College, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and Harvard; no lightweight. Her book “On Her Own Ground” was the inspiration for the Netflix movie “Self Made.” But she also wrote a fabulous tale about her Great grandmother A’leila Walker, “The Joy Goddess of Harlem,” a name pinned to her by Langston Hughes. You may have heard her “Ted Talk” or one of the You Tube videos of an interview…or on Oprah. Here are photo’s of her Harlem “Dark Tower Salon,” inside and out.
…..often times A’Lelia would be the only black person in certain environments. And she fit in like she was born to do so. Imagine this tall, regal, confident, (and only) black woman (person) sailing to Paris on a luxury cruise ship with the likes of the Vanderbilt’s, ascending the grand staircase into the formal dining area and sizing up the room as all eyes fell on her; deciding who would have the pleasure of her extraordinary presence that evening. She was seen as a Princess! She had all that they had in terms of material things, exceptional furs, jewels and fabulous clothing. But beyond that she had a fascinating and infectious personality; engaging, intriguing, over the top and in part that is why A’Lelia has named her book about her great grandmother, “Joy Goddess of Harlem”. She brought joy and shared joy everywhere she went, like only a Venusian Goddess can.
A’Lelia Walker here in South Sea pearls and a fur trimmed walking coat
My post last week about CJ spoke briefly of her daughter’s importance to her success. Besides her great sense of style, helping design and furnish her mother’s mansion, and salons, she was a charmer and great host, throwing lavish “Gatsby-style” parties. Wherever she traveled, always first class, she turned heads. A’Leila was elegant and fun. I loved looking behind the curtain of these fine women and seeing their legacies being honored by their families. Bless them all.