This weekend I headed to the new Madame CJ Walker Museum in the historic Auburn section of Atlanta courtesy of African Pride. This is the area not too far from where Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up and preached at his church, where they had Civil Rights meetings, and means alot to the city of Atlanta.
I had NO idea that this museum was here. Off of Auburn Avenue on the sidestreet Hilliard is a new museum curated by Mr. Ricci . For years he passed by an abandoned building with the sign saying Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Shoppe. Made in the 1950’s, this salon has been there for years. When he purchased the building, he had no idea that all of the contents in there he would have as well. He also found out from the senior citizens living in the area that on top of that salon was the very first Black radio station in Georgia. This was the radio station that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had to go to to get the word out about the marches since of course, no White station would allow that. Sooo much history in this one building!
While we sipped on mimosas and ate brunch from Chef Nikki from The Food Network, we learned all about the history of Black hair. For instance, Madame C.J. Walker was not THE first woman self-made millionaire. In fact, there were more before her in the hair care industry that were written out of history. Not to mention several other beauty pioneers who didn’t quite make a million, but still made an impact!
We got to see flat irons from the 1800’s and the various hot combs all patented by Black entrepreneurs and inventors. I had no idea that Garret Morgan actually has a patent on a hot comb as well after he made a curve to it! AND…I didn’t know that he invented the relaxer..on accident. He made a liquid formulation and it got on his hand. The next day, he realized his coarse hair on his hand, was now smooth. He then tried it on a very curly haired dog and it worked. The rest is history! Very fascinating. The same person who invented the stop light, amongst many other amazing inventions we use on a daily basis, came up with the relaxer.
After learning so much history, Camila Crews the National Brand Brand Manager for Strength Of Nature gave us all the scoop on what the brand is up to and included a question and answering session on the state of hair in general and where we think it’s going. We left home with some goodies as well!!
Photo Credit: Shawn Bell
For more information visit http://www.African-Pride.com and to join the conversation the socia medial hashtag is #APbeautybrunch. For more information on the Madame Museum visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-werd-project-saving-our-history