You have heard of Oprah Winfrey? Sure, who hasn't? How about Madam C.J. Walker? No brainer. Heads nodding up and down. How about Annie Malone? For the most part blank stares. Crickets chirping. Never heard of her.
Yet, before Madam Walker, Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune, Oprah Winfrey or Cathy Hughes there was Annie Turnbo Malone (1869-1957), a remarkable woman who made her mark during the early 20th century -- recorded as America's first black female millionaire based on reports of $14 million in assets held in 1920 from her beauty and cosmetic enterprises, headquartered in St. Louis and Chicago.
Annie Malone was one of the first people in Missouri to own a Rolls Royce. Against all odds, by the early 1900s Annie had hired and trained some "Poro Agents" who went door-to-door marketing her hair care and beauty supplies.
The name Poro may have come from a "West African term for a devotional society, reflecting her concern for the welfare and the roots of the women she served," according to a 2007 Harvard Business School case study. One of those Poro selling agents was Sarah Breedlove (later known as Madam C.J. Walker), who had moved from rural Louisiana to St. Louis about 15 years earlier.
There is no doubt that Malone had influenced Walker's life on a number of levels. Learn about an almost-forgotten segment of history from this image-rich museum-quality reproduction (52 pages, 8.75" x 5.75") of the rare 1926 booklet from Poro College (original copy owned by The Freeman Institute Black History Collection). Both educational and inspirational.
In this book you are about to meet a remarkable businesswoman, builder, educator, inventor, entrepreneur, visionary and philanthropist...and the mentor to thousands of African American women --including Madam C.J. Walker. We honor her legacy...