Anita Thompson, Harlem’s American Cocktail Girl, 1920’s

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Langston Hughes was a cousin; Booker T. Washington was a friend; Bill “Bojangles” Robinson taught her tap dance; W. E .B. du Bois a likely first lover…

Contemporary ‘It girls’ have nothing on the free spirits of the 1920s like Anita Thompson Dickinson Reynolds, who danced the Charleston, turned cartwheels on the sidewalk, and drank gin blossoms till dawn. Continue Reading →

HW Pick: Help Make Madam C.J. Walker’s Home A National Treasure

Villa-Lewaro_zpscb031975In the early 1900’s, entrepreneur and philanthropist Madam C.J. Walker commissioned Vertner Tandy, the first licensed black architect in New York, to design a home for her.   Continue Reading →

Anniversary Of A’Lelia Walker’s Death (August 17th, 1931)

Eighty years ago this month on August 17, 1931–after a lovely day at the beach celebrating a friend’s birthday– A’Lelia Walker, my great-grandmother and namesake, died in Long Branch, New Jersey. Continue Reading →

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919) was an African-American businesswoman, hair care entrepreneur and philanthropist. She made her fortune by developing and marketing a hugely successful line of beauty and hair products for black women, under the company she founded, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. Continue Reading →