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Women's History from the
Helaine Victoria Press Collection

Alelia Walker

photo of Walker  looking quite flamboyant


Alelia Walker (1885 -1931), the only child of Madam C. J. Walker, hosted one of the most memorable salons of the Harlem Renaissance. In "The Dark Tower," a converted floor of her New York townhouse, she entertained Harlem and Greenwich Village writers, artists, and musicians, as well as visiting African and European royalty. Her parties, along with her regal African beauty, lavish clothing, and glamorous lifestyle, inspired singers, poets, and sculptors. Langston Hughes called her the "joy goddess of Harlem's 1920's"; Zora Neale Hurston outlined a play about her and her mother; and Carl Van Vechten based his Nigger Heaven character, Adora Boniface, on her. She helped her mother found The Mme. C. J. Walker Mfg. Co. in 1905, then opened its New York office and beauty salon in 1913. Upon Madam Walker's death in 1919, A'Lelia Walker became president of the company. Her interest in Africa led her in 1922 to become one of the only westerners to visit Ethiopian Empress Waizeru Zauditu.

© 1991 Helaine Victoria Press, Inc. A nonprofit educational organization.
Caption written by A'Lelia P. Bundles, great-granddaughter of A'Lelia Walker. Photo courtesy of A'Lelia P. Bundles.

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