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5 African American Millionaires In History You Need To Know!!


1.) Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker, also known as the Sarah Breedlove, was an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a civil rights activist. She was born in the year 1867 near Delta, Louisiana. At an early age, she suffered from a scalp ailment, which resulted in the loss of her natural hair. Later in 1805, she invented a hair care product line for African-American people. She promoted her hair product around the country through lecture demonstrations and eventually established Madame C.J. Walker Laboratories. She became the first African-American women to become a self-made millionaire. She was known for her philanthropic spirit since she used to donate largest amount of her money toward the excellent construction of an Indianapolis YMCA in 1913.  She died on 25th May 1919.

2.) Mary Ellen Pleasant

Mary Ellen Pleasant also known as the Mistress Pleasant was an African-American entrepreneur. She was born on 19th August 1819 in Virginia. In the early age, she worked as a bondservant in the Hussey family which was an abolitionist.  She later married a former plantation owner Mr. James Smith. James passed on four years later, and Mary Ellen continued working as a determined conductor of the Underground Railroad. She established several restaurants in San Francisco, California to serve slaves who were black Americans. She succeeded in various business ventures. She even helped to establish Bank of California. She was a civil activist, and her name was well known in abolitionist circles. She won several civil wars and even took battles to courts and still emerged with victories.  Her fight in Civil Wars earned her the name “The mother of Human Rights in California.” She died on 4th January 1904.


3.) Bridget Biddy Mason

Bridget Biddy Mason was born on 15th August 1818 as a slave in Mississippi.  She was an African-American nurse who her business involvements made her become a Californian real estate entrepreneur. Consequently, she was the founder of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church situated in Los Angeles, California.  Despite that, she was illiterate; her financial success enabled her to support her extended family. She even sued colonial masters for the black freedom, invested in real estate, saved her earnings, and become a well-known philanthropist in California. She died on 15th January 1891 at the age of 75 years.

4.) Annie Turnbo Malone

On 9th August 1869, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur Annie Turnbo Malone was born in Metropolis, Illinois. She was born in a family of slaves, and her father was a union army during the Civil war. Though she went to school, Annie never finished it and instead opted to practice hairdressing with her sister. When her family moved to Lovejoy, Illinois, she became a “beauty doctor.” At the age of 20, Annie had already developed her own shampoo as well as a scalp treatment to straighten hair. She promoted her product in the streets.  In 1902, Annie Turnbo moved to St. Louis, Missouri the home of African-Americans.  Her new shampoo got wide market making her expand businesses. Later, she became one of the wealthiest black Americans. In fact, she became cosmetic entrepreneur leader. She died on 10th May 1957 at the age of 79.

5.) Jeremiah G. Hamilton

Born between 1806 and 1807, Jeremiah G. Hamilton was a black American wall street broker.  He was noted as the only black American millionaire in New York before the civil war.  There is less known about the Jeremiah G. Hamilton.  Wall Street at that time was only known for whites with Jeremiah the only Black.  Though he was a subject of newspaper coverage by those years, he is completely absent in the modern historical literature.  His success failed to impress African-American intellectuals such as James McCune Smith and that made his history got lost. He died in the year 1875.


Written by How Africa

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