Harvard Professor Discusses First Black Millionaire Madam CJ Walker

April 24, 2012  |  


by R. Asmerom

Celeste Walker, better known as Madam CJ Walker, is well known in the African-American community as the first African-American millionaire who built an empire on hair and beauty products. In the above video, Harvard Business School historian Nancy F. Koehn acknowledges that Walker’s story is not as celebrated in the cannon of American business history and discusses the significance of Walker’s emergence during the turbulent times of the early 1900s. The odds were stacked against her as a Black woman, making her endurance and success all the more remarkable.

According to her bio, Koehn’s research “focuses on effective leadership in turbulent times and how leaders, past and present, craft lives of purpose, worth, and impact.”


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