40 Madam C.J. Walker Quotes on Becoming the First Black Woman Millionaire in the US
There are some individuals that, no matter the odds, manage to build a beautiful life out of nothing, empowering those around them as they go. Madam C.J. Walker was one of these people, and she had a lot to say.
Madam C.J. Walker was born in the late 1800s to parents that were freed slaves, but they both died when she was only 6 years old. She was sent to Vicksburg, where she became a housemaid alongside her sister. She grew up in poverty and with little to no education.
Walker married and had a child as a teenager, losing her husband at a young age. She spent most of her years until her thirties working in many domestic positions. However, her life was about to change when her hair began falling out because of stress and the products that damaged it.
The future millionaire managed to come up with a formula to help grow hair back - and it worked! Of course, her fortune did not fall into her lap overnight, but eventually, she became the first Black woman millionaire in the United States.
Read these 40 quotes below to find out more about the late Walker's views on success, empowerment, and her own life story.
Madam C.J. Walker Quotes on Success
"There is no royal flower-strewn path to success." — Madam C.J. Walker
"Whatever success I have attained has been the result of much hard work and many sleepless nights." — Madam C.J. Walker
"Keep in mind that you have something that the person standing before you really needs; imagine yourself a missionary and convert him." — Madam C.J Walker
"Open your own shop. Secure prosperity and freedom." — Madam C.J Walker
"Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them." — Madam C.J. Walker
"I got my start by giving myself a start." — Madam C.J. Walker
"There would be no hair-growing business today had I not started it." — Madam C.J. Walker
"If I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard." — Madam C.J. Walker
"Perseverance is my motto!" — Madam C.J. Walker
"It's pretty hard for the Lord to guide you if you haven't made up your mind which way to go." — Madam C. J. Walker
"I have built my own factory on my own ground!" — Madam C.J. Walker
"My advice to everyone expecting to go into business is to hit often and hit hard; in other words, strike with all your might." — Madam C.J. Walker
"Having a good article for the market is one thing, putting it properly before the public is another." — Madam C. J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker Quotes on Society and Empowerment
"I feel that I am in a business that is a credit to the womanhood of our race." — Madam C.J Walker
"I've made it possible for many colored women to abandon the washtub for a more pleasant and profitable occupation." — Madam C.J Walker
"One can slide between poor and rich." — Madam C.J Walker
"I have always held myself out as a hair culturist. I grow hair." — Madam C J Walker
"I employ in that factory seven people, including a bookkeeper, a stenographer, a cook, and a house girl." — Madam C.J Walker
"I want to live to help my race." — Madam C.J. Walker
"America doesn't respect anything but money. What our people need is a few millionaires." — Madam C.J Walker
"I endeavor to provide employment for hundreds of the women of my race." — Madam C.J. Walker
"We must not let our… patriotic loyalty cause us to abate one whit in our protest against wrong and injustice." — Madam C.J. Walker
"You might say that I was the first and caused others to awaken to the sense of their duty in helping deserving causes for the benefit of the race." — Madam C.J Walker
"I want the great masses of my people to take greater pride in their personal appearance and to give their hair proper attention." — Madam C.J. Walker
"My object in life is not simply to make money for myself." — Madam C. J. Walker
"I want you to understand that your first duty is to humanity." — Madam C.J. Walker
"I love to use a part of what I make to help others." — Madam C.J. Walker
"Hair is power. You can't imagine what it is like to lose it." — Madam C.J. Walker
"Don't think that because you have to go down in the wash-tub that you are any less a lady!" — Madam C.J. Walker
"The girls and women of our race must not be afraid to take hold of business endeavors and, by patient industry, close economy, determined effort, and close application to business, wring success out of a number of business opportunities that lie at their very doors." — Madam C.J. Walker
"I want others to look at us and see that we care not just about ourselves but about others." — Madam C. J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker Quotes on Her Background and Story
"I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South." — Madam C.J. Walker
"I am not ashamed of my past; I am not ashamed of my humble beginnings." — Madam C.J. Walker
"I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it!" — Madam C.J. Walker
"Everybody told me I was making a mistake by going into this business, but I know how to grow hair as well as I know how to grow cotton." — Madam C.J. Walker
"One night, I had a dream... that dream... told me what to mix up for my hair. I made up my mind I would begin to sell it." — Madam C.J. Walker
"As I bent over the washboard and looked at my arms buried in soapsuds, I said to myself, 'What are you going to do when you grow old, and your back gets stiff?'" — Madam C. J. Walker
"I was promoted from there to the washtub, then I was promoted to the cook kitchen, and from there, I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations." — Madam C.J. Walker
"When we began to make $10 a day, my ex-husband thought that was enough, thought I ought to be satisfied. But I was convinced that my hair preparation would fill a long-felt want. And when we found it impossible to agree, due to his narrowness of vision, I embarked on business for myself." — Madam C.J. Walker
"I had little or no opportunity when I started out in life." — Madam C.J. Walker
This icon died at 51 years old on May 25, 1919, due to hypertension. Walker passed away at her home in the country in Irvington-on-Hudson.
Walker's memory has not died; as recently as 2020, the television mini-series "Self Made" was released, starring Octavia Spencer as the late millionaire. The show, inspired by the businesswoman's life, offers a more intimate view of what Walker faced on her journey to the top.
Walker is one of the numerous women, dead or alive, that have empowered other women through their own journeys. Read these 92 quotes from legendary women to help you reclaim your power.