She knew what suffering was all about. Just at the age of 20, she was already a widow and had to move out to St. Louis where for 18 years she supported herself and her daughter, she recognized the need for formal education, she went to classes in the city public school at night. She was born on December 23, 1867 to parents who were ex-slaves and share-croppers, i.e. tenant farmers who farmed land for the owner and are paid a share of the value of the yielded crop.
Her beginning was rather pitiable and hopeless. To increase her woes, her parents had died leaving her to be taking care of by her married sister. She got married at fourteen “to get a home,” as she later said.
She worked in all kinds of odd jobs, simple reason that she was poor, uneducated, and unskilled – but the irony of everything was that she was very smart, hardworking, innovative and focused. She refused to be caged by her predicament, knowing full well that her worth in life was essentially a product of the creative use of her mind. She engaged herself in creative thinking that would and did change her status of poverty into riches.
As a drycleaner working for Miss Jones (a white woman), she came in one fateful day to deliver Miss Jones’ laundry only to find her scalp. As a result, it developed into dandruff. While Miss Jones was seeing a problem, she was seeing a life-changing opportunity, which could announce her to her generation. She then put to use her creative ability by thinking through the solution to that problem. She got home and tried some off the shelf scalp treatments and from there she created her own hair care treatment called Madam Walker Hair System and it worked like magic!
She did not stop there. She forged ahead after excelling in her immediate environment. She decided to make it a household name in the nation of America. As many women in her days suffered from scalp problems, she decided to establish her own business to sell her hair treatment to them.
She relocated to Denver Colorado and with the help of her new husband she sold the Walker Hair Care System to black women throughout the country of America. By 1912, she had established a business empire based in Indianapolis, Indiana which enabled hundreds of black women to be self-sufficient as sales people. Nevertheless, she refused to settle for that level of success, rather pressed forward to be a seasoned speaker at Business League Conference Seminars held by Mr. Washington. However black business men wouldn’t give her, her proper place even though she was more successful than any ten of them put together.
In spite of the odds, she kept sending letters to Mr. Washington. Eventually, she met with him but was welcomed with an embarrassing statement: “The hair woman, come now, my conference is for black captains of industry, not hairdressers.” However, to her, it was the beginning of achieving her ultimate goal of becoming not just a speaker but the Speaker.
In 1912, at the National Negro Business League convention, Mr. Booker Washington while passing his final comments asked if anyone in the audience would like to ask questions. A hand shot up. And guess what? It was her hand that was raised. She was given audience to ask her question. She remarked, “I am a woman who comes from the cotton fields of the south. I was promoted from there to the wash tub, then i was promoted to the cook kitchen and from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factories on my own ground. My name is Madam C.J. Walker and my question is what more must I do to be recognized as a business leader, Mr. Washington?”
To cut the story short, the next year, Madam Walker was the keynote speaker at the National Negro Business League. She was one of many black people who achieved their goals in the face of extreme resistance. In spite of all odds, she became the first black millionaire woman in 1910 in America.
When she died in 1919, she was the sole owner and president of the Madame C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. Her estate was worth over a million dollars. Mrs. Walker left a rich legacy of black female business success which has inspired a lot of women the world over.
As you can see, her road to riches was full of bumps and potholes. But she didn’t allow her background to cage her.
This shows that: You are the master of your thought, the moulder of your character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment and destiny. You have the ability to exercise power and dominion over your mind. You hold the key to every situation and condition within yourself. That key is a transforming and recreating power by which you make yourself what you will.
You are in control of your thought even in your weakest abandon abandoned state!
But in spite of your weakness and hopeless situation, when you reflect upon your condition and search diligently for the law of God upon which your being is established, you then become wise, directing your energies with intelligence and fashioning your thoughts to fruitful issues. Only by much searching and exploration of information are wealth and riches obtained.This means you have to watch, control and alter your thoughts, tracing their effects upon yourself, upon others, and upon life and circumstances, linking cause and effect by patience, practice and investigation, and utilizing your every experience, even the most trivial, everyday occurrence, as a means of obtaining that knowledge of yourself which leads to understanding, wisdom and power etc.
In this direction, it is important to identify the law of God which says “seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7) for you are affected by circumstances so long as you believe to be the creature of outside conditions.
Your thoughts determine your worth!
Your outer circumstance shapes itself by the inner world of thought, for your wishes and prayers are only realized and answered when they harmonize with your thoughts and actions.
You cannot improve your circumstances when you are unwilling to improve yourself; you remain bound when you fail to improve yourself. This is also true of even the man whose sole objectives are to acquire wealth. You must be prepared to make great personal sacrifices before you can accomplish your objectives. In a nutshell, your outward reality, which is the physical and material life you live in, is a product of what you think.
- Folks! Whatever things are true,
- Whatever things are noble,
- Whatever things are lovely,
- Whatever things are of good report,
- If there is any virtue and if there is anything praise worthy,
- Meditate on these things…