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– [Narrator] The Guinness Book of World Records lists this woman as the first woman in history to start with nothing and earn her own million dollar fortune Her name was Madam C.J. Walker and this is her story (gentle guitar music) ♪ My hair is can’t you, don’t you ♪ ♪ You can’t call me, don’t you try ♪ – She didn’t know anything about black is beautiful but if it came right down to it what she did was very beautiful ♪ Just like cockleburras ♪ Nappy that’s the reason why – At that time, Madam Walkers’ name was known all over the south There wasn’t a creek, a puddle, a river or nothing that if there was one negro there they knew about Madam Walker ♪ Straighten it or burn it ♪ Makes no difference, I don’t care ♪ – It was quite an important thing to black women, particularly, and I think really in the history of the whole women’s movement very important to all women in the country ♪ Got to smooth these knots ♪ Got to be an Indian queen – [Narrator] The Nappy Headed Blues, as the song was entitled, reflected an attitude shared by many black Americans at the turn of the century According to the song, “my hair is can’t you, don’t you “You can’t call me, don’t you try “Nappy, that’s the reason why.” In those days, nappy hair was considered a problem by just about everyone, except Madam C.J. Walker She was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 to slaves newly freed by the Civil War in this cabin in Delta, Louisiana Married at 14, widowed with a daughter A’Lelia at 20, she had little other than her dreams, dreams she said of a magic formula that would solve those nappy headed blues For Madam C.J. Walker, these nappy heads would become her fortune although she began with only two dollars and a dream ♪ Go to Madam Walker, send a $50 bill ♪ ♪ Go to Madam Walker, send a $50 bill ♪ ♪ Then send me some pomade ♪ Help a poor girl out if you will ♪ – I don’t know how I can picture to you how unruly colored peoples’ hair was You didn’t have to do anything to it to make it unruly, it was just born like that If a person had a dream, in order to make a profit it was just as much a miracle as anything else – Madam Walker was working for Scholes He was a wholesale druggist in Denver and she was making extra money on the side selling Madam Poro’s work He saw it one day and asked her what it was and she told him and he says, “I can analyze this for you “and you can leave out some or put in more “and you can make the money yourself.” So she got a can of it and handed it to him and he did just that And that is how she really got her start with this growing of hair – [Narrator] However Madam Walker came upon her dream, her formula was a success By 1910, she was able to set up shop in this small factory in Indianapolis

Madam Walker recommended a system of hair care, washing and oiling the scalp with her preparations then pressing the hair with her newly designed hot comb – All of us marveled to think that she said she had a dream to make this preparation and she made the preparation, then a dream to use a hot comb and even dreamed how to make the comb and the product plus the procedure It was a God send for the colored race – I had a beauty shop from 1906 to 1946 I had a white shop The bankers’ wife, the mayors’ wife and everybody that was anybody came to my shop Madam Walker to my idea was something that a person could, you’d have to honor her for what she had done She had taught us how to take care of our hair Because I couldn’t even do my own hair I had to go to one of Madam Walker’s graduates to have my own hair done (upbeat jazz music) – [Narrator] There were 10 million black people living in the United States in 1912 Madam’s dream was able to grow She broadened her product line to include face powder, skin brightener, soap, hair coloring, glossine, even pomade for men Eventually, 23 products shared the Walker label (upbeat jazz music) In 1915, Madam Walker began a visual presentation in churches using these hand-colored glass slides to show the progress and development of the Walker company The factory staff, the office staff, this slide shows F.B. Ranson Esquire, hired by Madam in 1910 as the company’s attorney and general manager He was to be an important part of the Walker company until his death in 1947 The presentation included a slide of the companys’ newly acquired delivery truck, Madams’ Indianapolis home and even pointed out the progress made by blacks in the country Madam Walker traveled tirelessly around the country Soon Walker products were selling throughout the United States and the world – There was an open market in all the West Indies and the European countries because there was no one there at that time addressing colored peoples hair And under the hair was over in all those countries just like it was here in America (upbeat jazz music) – [Narrator] Madams’ determination, coupled with the companys’ innovative advertising brought quick and great rewards – I heard that Madam Walker was making lots of money, that Madam Walker was putting a lot of personal effort in it, that she was visiting the homes and hometowns of negro women and that they were flocking towards her She endeavored to get the priests on her side Them priests would tell the negro blacks in the towns where they’re coming what a wonderful thing this here black queen and them black women would buy that stuff so fast like leaves falling off a tree – Madam Walker was making $1,000 a day and if it went to 900 today, tomorrow it’d be $1,100 More or less $1,000 a day and that was week in, week out for I don’t know how many years but for a long, long time And at that time, there was not tax taken out of it – Madam Walker came here one time and talked at the college and I recalled I loved the way she, her mannerisms got me I knew she was a great woman

and we looked upon her as a great woman and I recall after she had been introduced and walked to the platform, she took off her floor-length mink coat and she didn’t pull it off until after the applause and she attempted to lay it on a chair and it fell to the floor and someone ran to pick it up and she said, “That’s all right, it’s all right.” See a mink coat falling on the floor to Madam Walker didn’t matter ♪ Now I’m a brown gal ♪ Brown gal ♪ Making my life just a bubble ♪ Not even taking the trouble ♪ To even blow the bubbles away ♪ – [Narrator] Madam had an ironclad rule, none of her army of saleswomen were allowed to use the word straightener and it never appeared in any Walker ads or on any Walker products But Madam Walker has been called the hair straighten queen, a hypocrite imposing Caucasian standards of beauty on the black women of America ♪ The heart maven’s son ♪ Has had my feelings – The popular belief that Madam Walker only was out there selling hair grease to straighten blacks’ hair to make them look more white is totally false – It was a method to beautify rather than to be thinking turning somebody white or making them look like white That was never Madam Walker’s idea – See she gave the women pretty hair, that enhanced their condition, their look She wasn’t trying to make them look white She wasn’t trying to make the hair look like white hair She was trying to make the hair improve the appearance of her people ♪ I’m a gal ♪ Floppity gal ♪ Making my life just a bubble ♪ Not even taking the trouble ♪ To even blow bubbles away – Beautiful, just beautiful Now when I say beautiful, I don’t mean beautiful in features, I mean beautiful in her ways, a very interesting woman to be around And she had known her shortcomings So she surrounded herself with people of education who could be teaching her every minute and she was very, very quick to catch on – [Narrator] The years of Madam’s rise to fame and fortune were, for the black masses, years of bitter hardship Segregation was the law, the way of life, lynchings, a near daily occurrence Yet in 1915, the Walker Company proudly announced that Madam C.J. Walker was America’s first self-made millionairess She also became black America’s first philantropist At a time when the average income for black families was $12 a week, she gave freely of her time, prestige, and money $5,000 to an anti-lynching fund, $5,000 to the YMCA, $5,000 to a friend, Mary McLeod Bethune, to help with her school The Walker company declared Madam C.J. Walker the greatest benefactress of her race (upbeat jazz music) Madam Walker believed in black women and continually strived to instill in them a sense of racial identity and pride She saw that they were far too reliant on men for survival Becoming a Walker agent was a step along the road to independence – Well Madam Walker from all I’ve heard was a very shrewd business woman She was also one of the first women’s lib people She very much wanted women to become independent, to get outside of the home, and she saw in this business a chance to train women,

especially black women, of course, who at that point in time were, the only jobs were domestic jobs – [Narrator] Walker products, manufactured by a predominantly female workforce, were not available in stores In a marketing scheme later used by industry giants like Avon, they were sold door to door by an army of trained agents Madam offered her agents incentives, bonuses, trips and conventions She established a chain of beauty colleges Over 50,000 women shared the Walker dream She gave black women a sense of pride and self-worth but just as importantly, she gave them jobs – All of the Madam C.J. Walker agents had a great love for Madam They felt she had done something for the race of women, they felt that she had given them an opportunity to make livings for themselves which were different from the living that most colored women had been able to make They were in business for themselves They were doing something They were making other colored women look beautiful They loved the company They glorified Madam C.J. Walker ♪ Now you mighty like a rose ♪ All dressed up in fancy clothes ♪ ♪ You’re just another brown gal who’s all full of them ♪ ♪ Now here’s a fix you’ll be living ♪ ♪ Yeah, you’re just a brown gal ♪ ♪ Chocolate gal ♪ Making my life – [Narrator] A firm believer in equality, Madam Walker employed women as sales agents, as teachers in her schools, as beauticians in her salons, and as office and factory workers in Indianapolis ♪ Brown gal, chocolate gal – At that time, there wasn’t any other places available for negro girls, except at the Indianapolis Recorder and the Freeman – Both were two black negro papers – So we were very fortunate in having employment at the Madam Walker Company – In the first place, it was the only big organization that negroes had And they had a real nice crews who worked in the back, didn’t they Esther? Esther and I worked in the same rom most of the time, didn’t we? – Yes, we did And then another thing too, we used to think think about that Madam Walker made that great discovery and she was doing so much to help our people and to help our women to look beautiful You know all women like to look beautiful and always look well-groomed And of course, we always, we started using the products too in order that we could make ourselves look beautiful too ♪ Oh two by two ♪ They go marching through ♪ All the sweethearts ♪ On boole boole boole ♪ Mighty fine – She just taught black women to be proud of themselves so that they in turn could demand things that they couldn’t have gotten otherwise if they didn’t have a certain amount of pride attached to them ♪ I’d love to join at one – [Narrator] Madam’s lifelong dream of beauty, independence and self-respect had become a reality Black was indeed beautiful and Walker sales continued to grow While the firms’ headquarters remained in Indianapolis, Madam moved east to New York She decided to build herself a home and what a home it turned out to be The Villa Lewaro designed in 1917 by black architect Vertner Tandy Sr was the shining proof of the Walker Companys’ success Located in suburban Irvington, New York, amid the estates of the Rockefeller’s and Thomas Edison, the villa made an overwhelming statement that achievement in this society was no longer for whites only – I have never even since seen anything like it Not even on the tours of some of the castles and things that I had been to, have they been anything like that It was just fantastic, it was so beautiful – Of course, I had never seen such furniture and tapestry and walls

– And every known thing that you’d want was right there It was gorgeous – A gold piano, a beautiful pipe organ – And every room music was piped into it, and that was something we didn’t have here in this part, we didn’t know nothing about piped in music – It was wonderful I think must’ve had 30 some odd to maybe near to 40 or 50 rooms Just one room after another, just something like out of a picture book – Because she was a negro, they thought she wouldn’t keep it up But when she got through building it, they were thrilled with it as anybody ’cause it was gorgeous – I was utterly amazed at what I saw I was amazed to see negroes had come from the cotton pads to a magnificent place like Villa Lewaro Carson Street from Rockefeller, ancient resident – [Narrator] Madam Walker built the Villa Lewaro as a symbol of the life that was possible for the new negro In her own words, “It is not for me, “it is for my people, “so that they can see what can be accomplished “no matter what their background is.” – I mean it was just something That life was a life, it was the beautiful life for the beautiful people It was every bit of that – [Narrator] Years of hard work and dedication to her company and her people were exhausting for Madam Walker By 1918, her health was failing Time once spent traveling for the Walker company, was now spent convalescing at the Villa Lewaro On May 25th, 1919, Madam C.J. Walker passed away She was 52 years old This song was written in her memory Madam’s last will and testament reflected her convictions Two-thirds of the companys’ profits must always go to charity The companys’ leader must always be a woman and the bulk of her personal fortune would be bequeathed to her only child, 37-year-old A’Lelia As a monument to Madams’ dream, the company erected the Walker Building in Indianapolis – The Walker Building was a fulfillment of Madam C.J. Walkers’ dream She had always wanted to build the building and after her death, her daughter A’Lelia and my father, were determined to build that building – Well, you can imagine knowing that Madam Walker made her first products on her kitchen stove and knowing that she made it in the little factory down the street from her home finally and then to build this great flat iron building, a city block on one street, a block and a half on another shaped like a flat iron, you don’t know what a flat iron is, but it was a way they used to iron clothes, to see that building four stories high, and the elevator, all that was new to us (upbeat jazz music) – [Narrator] The Walker Building opened with fanfare on the eve of the Great Depression The company produced this film to showcase its’ accomplishments It replaced the slide presentation and was shown in black churches, meeting halls, and theaters throughout the country The film gave a complete picture of the Walker daily operation, the workers arrive in the morning, the handpacking of Walker products begins (upbeat jazz music) An order is brought by F.B. Ransom to the forelady of the factory (upbeat jazz music) The order is packed for shipping It is checked one last time before going out And then it is loaded onto the Walker Truck for delivery The Walker Building was more than just a factory It served black Indianapolis as a shopping mall At the barber shop,

the gents could get a haircut and the ladies could get a manicure At the tailor, the family could have their clothes made or altered The shoe shine parlor was always a step ahead of the latest news A well stocked grocery store was available as was a grand ballroom that doubled as a meeting hall In the Walker Building, black residents of Indianapolis could find their own doctors, dentists, drug store, fine restaurant, and, of course, a beauty salon specializing in the Walker system of beauty For black Indianapolis, the Walker Building was a mecca, a source of jobs, a source of pleasure, a source of pride (upbeat jazz music) – Nothing like that had ever been in Indianapolis No one had ever had a building Of all the people in Indianapolis who were supposed to have so much money, none of them had ever built anything, maybe a little house and two or three outhouses, that’s about all But this was a gorgeous thing, oh it was something, and then they had a drugstore, then you had the Coffee Pot That’s where you went downstairs and had your coffee and you went there on Sundays after church and any time in the week If you couldn’t find anybody, go down to the Coffee Pot, you’d find ’em And that was for older people as well as younger people It was a lovely meeting place – And they had this beautiful ballroom with a crystal ball Remember that, Esther? – Oh yes, I do because we had some happy nights there We tended to dances and like that It was very fantastic – And they had a beautiful pipe garden too, in the theater It was really the only place that people went – [Narrator] The Coffee Pot was cozy, the ballroom was grand, but the showplace of the Walker Building was its theater Madam had sued a local Indianapolis theater over its segregated admissions policy The Walker Theater would’ve made the lady smile (pipe music) – Now sitting in the Walker Theater at this time, I recall the opening date, December 1928, when I was employed as head usher The opening date was a gala event The whole town turned out It was a night to be remembered in Indianapolis The theater was definitely a showplace It was the first negro constructed, owned and operated new theater for negroes in the United States All other theaters in Indianapolis at that time, and I suppose Indiana, were segregated – The place of the Walker Building in Indianapolis, and I think in black America, is unparalleled The fact is that at that point in time the blacks could not go to the movies in Indianapolis They could not go to white hotels They could not go to dance halls, doctors Physicians, dentists, lawyers were having problems getting offices and the building really fulfilled a great need – When I first came here in 1911, you could go to the moving picture shows and they began to put signs in the windows, colored trade not solicited and you could not go to a moving picture house unless you passed And we had the English theater here which brought in the legitimate shows and the negroes had to sit on the last two rows of the balcony or up in the gallery Orpheum Theater was the same thing You couldn’t go to Loew’s Theater at all And that was Indianapolis I mean you couldn’t go in there unless you passed for white because there was no place in Loew’s for negroes You couldn’t eat in the five and 10 cent store to sit down and eat in the five cent store You couldn’t get an ice cream soda downtown in the drugstore – [Narrator] But the Walker Building changed that Now, blacks in Indianapolis had their own soda fountain

in the same building with their own theater The Walker Theater presented vaudeville shows and with the arrival of the talkies, the first-run films Some were quite a change from the studios usual mainly white productions – Some black pictures were shown at the theater I believe most of the black pictures that were produced in the United States, those pictures were completely black produced and acted I feel that black people were happy to see black people on the screen, happy to see black people producing pictures, happy to see themselves portrayed in motion picture ♪ I am confessing ♪ That that trade ♪ Will I learn my lesson ♪ Oh, I’ve been fooled for 30 days ♪ ♪ I can’t trust at the store (jazz music) – [Narrator] By the time of the Walker Buildings’ dedication, daughter A’Lelia had moved to New York Little naptown could not contain her dynamic spirit Neither, as it turned out, could big New York A’Lelia Walker was the embodiment of an unrealized fantasy in black America She was one of the first blacks in the United States to inherit indisputable wealth She followed not an uncommon tradition among America’s moneyed families, the first generation earns, the second generation spends – A’Lelia, the daughter, Madam Walker’s daughter was young She had everything at her fingertips She was bound to be different She couldn’t have been just like Madam Walker Madam Walker came from scratch with an idea and a dream and all of that She worked her way up A’Lelia was given everything, every opportunity You wouldn’t expect her to be like her mother ♪ I’ve got the world on a string ♪ ♪ Sitting on a rainbow ♪ Got the string around my finger ♪ ♪ What a life ♪ What a world ♪ I’m in love – A’Lelia’s personality was absolutely fantastic She could make friends with anybody She had that happy faculty Her mother was a little reticent but A’Lelia was just outgoing And the minute that you saw her, you just fell in love with her ♪ I’ve got a song that I sing ♪ I can make the rainbow ♪ Anytime I move my finger ♪ Lucky me – [Female] She was an Amazonian type woman – [Female] Not a fat woman, just a large woman – [Female] She knew how to dress and she dressed – [Female] She liked to eat, she liked to party, she liked to spend money – [Female] She partied every night, every minute on the minute She could do something every minute of the day ♪ I’ve got the world on a string ♪ ♪ Sitting on a rainbow ♪ Got the string around my finger ♪ ♪ What a life ♪ What a world – Well, we went to the Cotton Club And when they saw A’Lelia Walker come, they let the famous A’Lelia Walker with her party come in (jazz music) Later on, I heard that there wasn’t particular about serving black But to them, A’Lelia Walker wasn’t no black A’Lelia Walker was a black princess She was a royal black son of a gun, that’s what she was like, she was royal with royal instinct – [Narrator] She was married and divorced three times She drove in the grandest cars, drank the finest champagne She was surrounded by the best and the brightest of her era In a jazz age Harlem filled with fabulous characters, A’Lelia Walker was the most fabulous of them all She was black societys’ reigning queen and whatever she did was front page news – Everything that she did was duly noted in the black press She was a glamorous individual to many people

And also happened to given the company millions of dollars worth of publicity A’Lelia Walker was excellent for the Walker Company (upbeat jazz music) – [Narrator] The Roaring 20’s smoked through Harlem A’Lelia Walkers’ extravagance was a major part of the Harlem mystique It lured white opinion makers and rich sensations seekers north of 110th Street There they met, through her, a dynamic talented generation of black creative artists History calls what resulted the Harlem Renaissance (upbeat jazz music) ♪ Go Harlem, go Harlem, go Harlem, go Harlem ♪ ♪ Get rhythm, get rhythm, get rhythm, get rhythm ♪ ♪ Now laugh, laugh, laugh ♪ Laugh your cares away ♪ Bling, bling, bling ♪ Go Harlem, go Harlem, go Harlem, go Harlem go ♪ – [Narrator] The Mexican-born painter Miguel Covarrubias captured the spirit of Harlem night life in these drawings ♪ Go Harlem, go Harlem, go Harlem, go right now ♪ (upbeat jazz music) – [Narrator] A’Lelia opened her own little night spot She called it The Dark Tower It was a hangout for artists and those who respected their talents Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude McKay, all left a mark on this nations’ literary landscape They were all Dark Tower regulars and benefited from A’Lelia Walkers’ wide social circle – After she got the Dark Towers, then that was kind of a hangout Everybody tried to go to Dark Towers on Sunday night to be up there and see who’s out and see who wasn’t out and see who’s in and so forth and it was quite interesting And it was a place where people knew that they could meet If they had strangers in town, they’d take them to the Dark Towers so that they’re sure to meet all of the celebrities of the city ’cause they would be there And that would be white and black Wasn’t just only negroes – [Narrator] Monday through Saturday A’Lelia reigned in Harlem Sunday though, was not a day of rest Her nonstop party moved to the outskirts of town, the Villa Lewaro Riffs from Armstrong and Ellington gave way to the harmonies of Schubert, Brahms and Chopin – A’Lelia was considered the leader of negro society And on Sunday afternoon, she was famous for her musicals She would pick out the outstanding talent among our people to present to not only our people, but to the elite of the other race They looked forward to coming to A’Lelia Walkers’ musicals – [Narrator] The musicians were black, talented and unknown The guests were mostly white, either rich, influential or both, such as critic Carl Van Vechten – And the name of Carl Van Vechten naturally that really carried all the weight in the world because he was the most outstanding music critic in New York City and he made it his business to be there He was interested to see what the negroes really had to offer in the field of art And I think that was her main purpose, to inform them what we are and what we do and what we stand for – [Narrator] But if A’Lelia had fame, fortune and influence, love seemed destined to allude her forever Her marriages were stormy, her divorces bitter, and she was childless It appeared that the Walker dynasty would end with her until Mae Bryant came into A’Lelia’s life – A’Lelia Walker met Mae Bryant on one of her business trips to Indianapolis And Mae was working in the factory of the Walker Company A’Lelia first noticed her because Mae had such a beautiful head of hair She had very, very long hair and it came down to her waist – Mae was darker than a woman who had hair like Mae’s usually was

Mae had long hair And they were trying to sell hair growth – And they used Mae for ads at first, just the back of her head, really, just the hair So they became friendlier and friendlier and she felt that she could help this girl and she adopted Mae – And they used Mae as a front by saying that their goods grew Mae’s hair and A’Lelia used that, as I view it, to advance their economic progress My impression of Mae was that she was an adopted Cinderella Cinderella came into great luxury and so forth from nowhere ♪ Heaven, heaven, heaven, heaven ♪ ♪ I don’t need golden wings ♪ Or none of those things ♪ ‘Cause Harlem’s heaven to me – [Narrator] The tabloids called it the million dollar wedding They weren’t far off the mark Mae Bryant, the shy, young Walker heiress, became the bride of Gordon Jackson, a doctor from Chicago It turned out to be a match made somewhere other than heaven but the spectacle captured the attention of the nation – I was a flower girl in the so-called million dollar wedding Took place in 1923 The wedding was put on with much fanfare It was a huge wedding party The Daily News had the brides’ picture on the front page and all of the New York papers reported this very expensive wedding Champagne flowed and the villa was just packed with people – [Narrator] Mae’s fairytale marriage had, unfortunately, a very real life ending, divorce Soon, however, she would meet the man who would become her second husband His name was Marion Perry and they came together at the Villa Lewaro – Mae was there, that’s the first time I ever met Mae But I never knew anything about Mae till I got up to the house Mae being married to this man in Chicago, I didn’t know nothing about it And I didn’t pay no attention particularly to this so-called million dollar wedding I didn’t pay no attention to it Actually, my mother was planning for me, she was planning for me to be about the biggest nigger in the country but we disappointed her, me and my brother (laughs) – [Narrator] But the grand made joy ride that was A’Lelia Walker’s life was nearing the end of the line By 1929, America had hit the economic bottom and the Walker Company could no longer support her opulent lifestyle F.B. Ransom, still the general manager, still in Indianapolis, had sounded early alarms A’Lelia turned them off – Oh she was a spendthrift Money was only made to be spent, as far as she was concerned And she spent it like a drunken sailor, she spent it She had it and she spent it – The fortune was definitely on the way down In the first place, there was too much money paid out at the top for salaries and so forth, too much money that was put out for A’Lelia Walker’s expenses The Villa Lewaro actually cost them $500,000 or $600,000 Together with the fact that A’Lelia was spending so much money at the same time – [Narrator] In 1928, A’Lelia was forced to close the Dark Tower, giving this notice, “Dear members and friends, “Having no talent or gift “but a love and keen appreciation for art, “The Dark Tower was my contribution “But due to the slothfulness on the part of the members “to make use of The Dark Tower, “it will be closed November 1st “as a private institution “but available to rent for private parties, “such as luncheons, teas, card parties and receptions “I cannot tell you how sorry I am for this “Sincerely, A’Lelia Walker.”

Two years later, A’Lelia was forced to put her beloved Villa Lewaro on the block The furnishings were sold at a public auction It lured crowds of the curious to Irvington, black and white Most came just to gawk The villa’s contents, purchased by the Walkers for a small fortune, sold for almost nothing Symbolically, the auction was a body blow to the Walker Company’s image and prestige – I think A’Lelia through the years had become quite willful and she hardly listened to anybody She liked to eat, she loved to eat I can remember coming in the house and the first thing she’d holler and ask my mother, what are you cooking today? She loved to eat She liked parties, liked her friends and she just did not heed the doctors’ warnings – It is my personal opinion that A’Lelia knew that her fortune was declining and that she no longer would be in the ascendency, that she didn’t care really if she lived or died because she was gonna live in luxury as long as she lived and she went there and she ate too much and drank too much and she knew it and the doctor had told her to be careful and she didn’t be careful and I believe it knocked A’Lelia out because A’Lelia wanted to be knocked out – [Narrator] In 1931, Harlem buried A’Lelia Walker like the black queen that she had been Adam Clayton Pal Sr performed the services, Langston Hughes read the eulogy, and the four bon-bons provided the music – Well, I think we were the only musical organization that was represented and we did, I think this is one of her favorites, A’Lelia’s favorites, I’ll Be Seeing You by Noel Coward (piano music) – [Narrator] Thousands came to say goodbye To her dear friend Langston Hughes, A’Lelia’s death marked the end of the gay times of the new negroes in Harlem The crash of 1929, he wrote, “Left white people with less money to spend on themselves “and practically none to spend on negroes “The Depression,” Hughes added, “brought everybody down a peg or too, “and the negroes had but a few pegs to fall.” (piano music) – I can’t imagine a place that was as full of life as Harlem was be in the condition that it is now I just can’t see how it ever got that way I should see because Indiana Avenue here in Indianapolis is the same way So I should see, but I don’t Negroes had pride and they dressed it and showed it and they were beautiful They were the beautiful people and they were that (piano music) – It seems as though we gave up We gave up and just, our restaurants, we had restaurants, inns and when we could go to their inns, then we forgot that main, in fact, I’ve had friends to call colored restaurants that I’d go to this evening if I were taking you all for dinner, I’d go to it They call it the Busy Spoon now I don’t understand us, that’s the part I don’t understand We don’t have enough race pride That’s what I see – [Narrator] Ambition and courage, two dollars and a dream, the Walker story is a remarkable example of American achievement And although in time, some of Madam’s dreams were crushed, she would not have mourned for long Madam C.J. Walker, a great student of experience, would have dreamed another, and she would have made it work (gentle piano music)

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