MADAM C.J. WALKER
Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Political and Social Activist
Madam C.J. Walker Born 23 December 1867, Delta, Louisiana, United States created specialized hair products for African American hair care and was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire. Madam C.J. Walker invented a line of African American hair products after suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss. She promoted her products by traveling around the country giving lecture-demonstrations and eventually established Madame C.J. Walker Laboratories to manufacture cosmetics and train sales beauticians. Her business acumen led her to be one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire. She was also known for her philanthropic endeavors, including a donation toward the construction of an Indianapolis YMCA in 1913. Walker’s life was portrayed in the 2020 TV show Self Made, with Octavia Spencer portraying Walker.
American Lawyer and Civil Rights Activist
Thurgood Marshall born 2 July 1908, Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Best known as the first African-American Supreme Court justice, played an instrumental role in promoting racial equality during the civil rights movement. As a practicing attorney, Marshall argued a record-breaking 32 cases before the Supreme Court, winning 29 of them. In fact, Marshall represented and won more cases before the high court than any other person. During his 24-year term as Supreme Court justice, Marshall’s passionate support for individual and civil rights guided his policies and decisions. Most historians regard him as an influential figure in shaping social policies and upholding laws to protect minorities.
Russell lived in Springfield, Ohio, until she was 14, at which point her family moved to Columbus for her high school years, her interest in food started at a young age. The dishes of her youth were a mix of soul food and midwestern staples. A young Russell was bitten by the hospitality bug and got her first taste of cooking for others.
In high school, Russell participated in a career academy that first introduced her to the idea of woking in a restaurant as a career. From there she moved to Chicago after high school to attend the cooking and hospitality institute of Chicago (A le cordon bleu school that closed in 2017). Russell has cooked in various places, she agreed to be the chef de cuisine at Rumiko and Kikko which led her in the direction of becoming the first black woman to receive a michelin star. Her work ethic shines through in both her food and leadership.
Musician, Composer, Singer, Bandleader, Film star, Comedian
Louis Daniel Armstrong, born August 4, 1901, nicknamed “Satchmo,” “Pops” and, later, “Ambassador Satch,” was a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. An all-star virtuoso, he came to prominence in the 1920s, influencing countless musicians with both his daring trumpet style and unique vocals. Armstrong’s charismatic stage presence impressed not only the jazz world but all of popular music. He recorded several songs throughout his career, including he is known for songs like “Star Dust,” “La Vie En Rose” and “What a Wonderful World.”
Armstrong was one of the first popular African-American entertainers to “cross over” to wide popularity with white (and international) audiences. He rarely publicly politicized his race, to the dismay of fellow African Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation in the Little Rock crisis. He was able to access the upper echelons of American society at a time when this was difficult for black men. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.