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Madam C.J. Walker's continuing inspiration powers entrepreneurship & philanthropy

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Madam C.J. Walker's continuing inspiration powers entrepreneurship & philanthropy

"I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them." Madam C.J. Walker 

Madam Walker re-invented herself from a woman doing the backbreaking work of washing other people's clothes before the invention of washing machines, to becoming the owner of an international business that provided opportunities for others to re-invent themselves out of poverty and into their own entree into success. Along the way, she shared her wealth for the greater good of individuals and organizations that met her standards of self-empowerment and philanthropy. 

Her great-great-granddaughter, A'Lelia Bundles, is keynoting the Indiana Historical Society February 27, 6:00 program, "A Toast to Now": An evening dedicated to celebrating women and the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. 

The news release reads: "This event connects current leaders with future leaders and supports an environment for growth and transformation. We are beginning a new era for women to be empowered, enlightened and engaged by coming together and working together. We can make change and build a network of strong, lasting relationships that will help women be more and do more in their communities. "

The evening includes touring IHS exhibits, "You Are There 1915: Madam C.J. Walker, Empowering Women" and "Be Heard: Women's Voices in Indiana," while sampling food and beverages; a panel discussion featuring top female leaders from the community and the keynote by A'Lelia Bundles.  

More information & register here:

A'Lelia Bundles responded to a NUVO email Q/A:

NUVO: What is the thrust of your keynote?

A'Lilia Bundles:  I will be talking about Madam Walker's support of suffrage while she lived in Indianapolis and her political activism. Because the event is about women supporting each other and designed to encourage networking, I'll also talk about Madam Walker's 1917 convention when she talked about "Women's Duty to Women."

NUVO: I'm re-reading your book for young readers [of all ages] "All About Madam C. J. Walker":

Bundles: "I'm so glad that you're reading the book for young readers. I'm especially pleased that it was published by an Indianapolis publisher with cover artwork by a truly talented Bloomington artist.


NUVO: What about the new books? 

Bundles: A new edition of "On Her Own Ground" with a new cover and a revised epilogue will be published by Scribner on 3/20 (the same day the Netflix series premieres). The cover art for the new edition should be out on 2/25. I spent all of last week recording the audiobook and that will be out at the same time. Once I get through all the promotion for the new edition and for the Netflix series, I'll be immersing myself in the A'Lelia Walker biography (The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A'Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance), which will be out in 2021."

NUVO: What about the Walker Center revitalization?

Bundles: I am absolutely thrilled that Judith Thomas is leading the way as president of the Madam Walker Legacy Center. Her deep family ties in the community, her collaborative personality, the relationships she's built, and the skills she developed at Visit Indy make her the perfect person for this job. We're also are fortunate to have so much fabulous support from Chris Gahl at Visit Indy, from Chancellor Paydar at IUPUI, from the Lilly Endowment and from the MWLC board members who have been working so hard to get us to this point. To have had Kevin Richardson and David Letterman as our initial headliners are just a little glimpse of what is possible for this new chapter.

I really love the Indiana Historical Society's Madam Walker exhibit. I hope they'll be able to create a portable traveling version of the exhibit that can be used in schools in Indiana and beyond.

A'Lelia Bundles' website post reads: "An award-winning journalist and author, she founded the Madam Walker Family Archives, is a Columbia University trustee and immediate past chairman of the National Archives Foundation. A former network television news executive and producer, she has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, C-Span, NPR and BBC and spoken at Harvard Business School, Spelman College and dozens of corporations, book festivals and women's conferences. A'Lelia Bundles' forthcoming book, "The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A'Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance," is a biography of her great-grandmother, whose parties, friendships, international travels and arts patronage made her a central figure of the era.  

Octavia Spencer will play the first black, self-made female millionaire Madam C.J. Walker in Netflix series produced by LeBron James. To learn more about how A'Lelia's book became a Netflix series, click here 

Also learn about the Madam C..J. Walker Digitization Project and the original Walker collection at the William H. Smith Memorial Library at the Glick Indiana History Center. 

see scholarly dissertation on Madam Walker: "The Gospel of Giving" Oct. 2014

see posts on Madam C.J. Walker here:

for A'Lelia Walker see here:

for Walker Theatre, Indianapolis see here:

 for A'Lelia Bundles see:

The Walker Theatre at 617 Indiana Avenue is currently undergoing renovation. Call 317-236-2099 if you have questions or need information about upcoming programming and construction updates.

also note:

Coming up at the Indiana State Museum: 

April 16: Courageous Conversations: Trailblazing Women, the Indiana Suffragists. Learn about the bold and daring women in underrepresented communities that were advocating for the right to vote, in celebration of the Indiana Women's Suffrage Centennial. Then, experience the art of women activists in the new exhibit, Cause and Æffect. 6- 7 p.m. Presentation and discussion; 7 - 8 p.m. Explore the exhibit. 

April 21: Quirky Queries: Pantsuits & Politics. Learn about items from our collection worn by female politicians. Hear from our curators as they discuss the importance of preserving Indiana history how shifts in fashion throughout history reflect societal changes. Guests will enjoy a happy hour and access to our core galleries before and after our curators speak.

6-9 p.m.

tickets for all:  317.232.1637 or

seniors all ages family friendly 21 and over contributed sponsored

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