anything at all, as the social circumstances of the early 20th century configured, and yet Walker built her wealth on exactly the specific condition of her race, the intrinsic beauty condition. Not just her race, but her race compounded by her womanness: she was New York’s Wealthiest Negress.
37. Survival may look like pleasure, gaudy, nearly French-like. “In the house…she had installed an $8,000 organ with furnishings, including bronze and marble statuary, cut glass candelabra, tapestries, and paintings, said to be of intrinsic beauty and value.”
38. Walker required her agents to sign contracts binding them the exclusive use of her company's products and methods, including a hygienic regimen that prefigured state cosmetology laws. In visits, she preached “cleanliness and loveliness,” assets and aids to self-respect and racial advance that black power girls of the ‘70s would jeer at [and would …]. A 1919 editorial in Crisis, the magazine of the newly-built NAACP, judged Madame had influenced in her lifetime a revolution in “personal habits and appearance of millions of human beings.”
39. Madame C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove and tied to the fact of her being born to the wrong name, stood up from her seat. She interrupted Booker T. Washington, who held possession of the podium and of the credo that only business could set you free but that beauty, especially beauty attuned to the political needs of a woman's body, was not a legitimate business, did not reap the relevant style of freedom. She stood up, and said: “I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory on my ground.”