"Now I realize that in the so-called higher walks of life, many were prone to look down upon 'hair dressers' as they called us; they didn't have a very high opinion of our calling, so I had to go down and dignify this work, so much so that many of the best women of our race are now engaged in this line of business, and many of them are now in my employ."
Madam CJ played a central role in the history and politics of African-American hair. While some accused her of developing products to try to straighten and flatten black hair, she strongly denied that was her aim, saying, "I'm a hair culturist. I grow hair."
Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library |