Friday, November 4, 2016

Let Me Introduce Madam Walker

It's been a busy week, filled with getting tasks done and making real progress. Today my calendar reminded me that I had set aside time to take in a cultural event. Since moving to Indiana last December, I've been very intrigued  with the state's Bicentennial. There are so many interesting programs exhibits and activities revolving around the celebration, that I am trying to take in as many as possible. It has the added benefit of helping me get to know my way around and to discover interesting restaurants too

"Freetown Village is a living history museum with the mussion to educate thep ublic about African American lives and culture in Indiana through living history, exhibits, allied programs, and the colletion and preservation of artifacts." Today Freetown was presenting the Madame Walker Story created and presented by a special character to bring this history to life.

Volunteers Preserving the Legacy of Madame Walker
The early life and legacy of Madame Walker was brought to us in a different way through storytelling by her "friend" dressed in period costume. Born Sarah Breedlove by her slave parents, she was born during the abolitionist period and their 5th but first "free" child.

Madame. Walker's "friend"
Sarah, learned about making hair care products from a dear friend, but went on to develop her own unique formula for hair care and other beauty products. She began calling herself "Madame" as she felt it lent sophistication to her product. She was one of the first of her time to think of branding her product, with the help of her lawyer firend, Mr. Freeman Ransom. By then she was married to her third husband, C. J. Walker, and her brand became the Madame C. J. Walker line of "Beauty Culture." A self-made millionaire, today the products are marketed online only through Sephora,

Although she divorced and parted amicably from Mr. Walker, Madame retained the "Walker" name and saw to it that her products retained the brand name as they were so well known by then.

The Walker Theatre Center, once the location for manufacturing Madame Walker's hair care products, is listed as one of our National Historic Landmarks. "From our beautifully maintained main stage that has seen the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Patti LaBelle, Michael Bolton, and Lena Horne perform, to our intimate Grand Casino Ballroom where local jazz greats like Gregg Bacon and Lonnie Lester entertain  – the Walker building still stands strong…a beacon of pride, hope, and the beauty that lies in diversity. It’s presence and programming both ensure that we do not forget the significance of Madam CJ Walker, Indiana Avenue, or African-American cultural arts."

Walker Theatre Centre 
I so enjoyed this experience that I told the ladies that I am a blogger and wanted to spread the word. "I only blog about crochet," I said. How will I weave crochet into this topic." Madame Walker's "friend" promptly replied, "Just tell them they can bring their crochet; as as they listen to the presentation, crochet away!Many people get antsy and have a hard time sitting still; crochet helps!" Right on!!! This woman knows what she is talking about!

It has been said that the ills of our society can only be cured if we give each other a chance, one-to-one, as we seek understanding and harmony. I felt such warmth for these two women, doing such good work one story at a time, that I'm convinced that belief is true. What thoughts or beliefs come to your mind?

The next free presentation of the Madame Walker Story will be Dec. 2 at the Madame Walker Heritage Center, 623 Indiana Ave. Indianapolis, on-going from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM. Schedule a program for your group, church or school.

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