||A'Lelia (McWilliams) Walker is a part of US Black history.|
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Lelia Walker was born in 1885 to Sarah Breedlove aka. Madam C.J. Walker and Moses McWilliams. After the tragic death of her father, when she was only two years old, she and her mother moved to St. Louis, Missouri to escape the racial tensions of the south.
Lelia grew up in St. Louis and later attended Knoxville College in Tennessee. Her mother worked tirelessly as a washerwoman to earn the money to further her daughter's education. In 1905 her mother moved to Denver, Colorado where she was getting her hair products company started. This is where she met Lelia's step-father, Charles Joseph Walker whom Lelia adopted last name from.
The Lelia College for Beauty Culture was opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where the family moved in order to sell their products to a larger market. Lelia was instrumental in getting her mother's company started.
After her mother's passing in 1919, she became president of the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Once coined as "The Joy Goddess of Harlem's 1920's" by poet, Langston Hughes, A'Lelia (her new name) threw lavish parties at her late mother's estate in Irvington, New York as well as at her New York City homes. Villa Lewaro was host to many great writers, artists, activists, and social thinkers such as, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, James Weldon Johnson, and Hughes. These parties were also a safe haven for members of the gay community, who were among these influential party-goers.
A'Lelia had three marriages: John Robinson from 1909-1914, Wiley M. Wilson from 1919-1925, and Dr. James Arthur Kennedy 1926-1931. She adopted 13-year-old Fairy Mae Bryant (Mae Walker), who was an assistant and model for their company, in October 1912.
She died at the age of 46, at the home of a friend, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Thousands turned out to pay her tribute.
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A'Lelia is 20 degrees from Jan van Haarlem, 23 degrees from Henry Morgan, 29 degrees from Jeanne de Belleville, 18 degrees from Joseph Bradish, 25 degrees from Peter Corne, 36 degrees from Pier Gerloffs Donia, 28 degrees from Lars Gathenhielm, 27 degrees from Jean Lafitte, 20 degrees from Henry Mainwaring, 27 degrees from Gráinne O'Malley, 25 degrees from Fortunatus Wright and 24 degrees from Rob Graham on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.