Before Oprah Winfrey and Madame C. J. Walker there was Annie Turnbo Malone – an Africa American entrepreneur and philanthropist during the early 20th century. Malone is recorded as the U.S.’s first Black woman millionaire! This was based on reports of $14 million on assets held in 1920, from her beauty and cosmetic enterprises that were headquartered in St. Louis and Chicago.
Annie Turnbo attended school in Illinois, where she apprenticed with her sister as a hairdresser. By 1898, Malone had developed her own scalp and hair products that she demonstrated and sold from a buggy throughout Illinois.
In 1902, Malone’s business growth led her to St Louis, Missouri, which at the time held the 4th largest population of African Americans. St. Louis was where she copyrighted her Poro Beauty products. By 1917, Malone opened the doors of Poro College, a beauty college which was later attended by Madam C.J. Walker. The school reportedly graduated about 75,000 agents world-wide. During the Great Depression, she moved from Missouri to Chicago’s South Side.
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Grahams Barber College