On a plantation in Louisiana, the first free child is born to a family of slaves. Growing up in poverty, she marries at the age of fourteen. But against all the odds, she goes on to amass a great fortune – and ignite an inspiring legacy that remains to this day. This is the story of Madam C. J. Walker and how she overcame hardship to become one of the African-American women to taste the greatest success.
Walker was born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867. Her parents, Owen and Minerva Breedlove, were enslaved on the Madison Parish plantation, close to the border with Mississippi. And although she was the youngest of six children, she was the first to be born after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation enshrined her freedom in law.
But although she was free, Sarah’s early years were not easy. An orphan by the time she was seven years old, she started working as a domestic help at the age of ten. By this time, she was living with her sister Louvenia and her husband Jesse in Vicksburg, a city in Warren County, MS.