Volahanta Raharimanana

Volahanta Raharimanana

Life seems now easier and easier thanks to machines. The digital transformation of our society has contributed so far to today’s technological advances such as the evolution of AI technologies. Different innovative AI applications and machines are now already seen in much use – from virtual assistants, search engines, speech and face recognition systems to robots, drones and autonomous cars.

A brief history of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Artificial intelligence has already been present in our lives for so long. Some AI technologies have been around for more than 50 years and the seeds of modern AI have been planted by classical philosophers who attempted to describe human thinking as a symbolic system. This culminated in the invention of the computer – the digital machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of models of arithmetic or logical operations automatically – in the 1940s. Such invention led scientists to find possibility to build machines that can mimic human’s cognitive functions, by creating the electronic brain.

It was in 1956 that AI was recognized as an academic discipline. However, investment and interest in AI boomed only several years later when machine learning – the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience and using data – seen as a part of AI was successfully applied to many problems in academia and industry. Today, we can no longer dispense with AI technologies as AI takes a prominent position in the 21st-century society, displaying human-like capabilities.

How AI can solve numerous problems.

Artificial intelligence has enhanced the speed, precision and effectiveness of human efforts via machines and data processing. AI is now highly used in different domains to give insights into user behaviour and give recommendations based on the data. Here are some of the awe-inspiring things that AI has done so far.

• AI has apparently already transformed the way we communicate, given that communication is now seen as today’s most influential factor in idea creation and productivity, within the workplace. Since 2018, 61 percent of businesses have already shifted towards AI use. Thanks to machine learning, AI is gaining intelligence with applications from finance to sales and production. Moreover, AI fosters strong workplace communication by using various analytics. For instance, AI can indicate the success rate of presentations and anticipate the types of interaction that mostly suits the targeted audience.

• AI is everywhere. Different apps are now designed for every type of communication. In reading, there is what is called “SummerizeBot”, an AI and Blockchain-powered app that aims at summarizing various contents and documents. AI intervenes also in computer vision, which is a form of artificial intelligence where computers can “see” the world. Some examples of computer vision include “autonomous vehicles”, “Google Translate app”, and “facial recognition”. AI researchers have also recently developed a model that has the extraordinary ability to detect a variety of illnesses, just by smelling the human breath; and many more.

Thanks to the advancement of technology, artificial intelligence becomes ubiquitous and appears to be the best problem-solving approach. However, despite all of this, AI may also raise different concerns.

Sources : Forbes / NFON / Great Learning.

Language development begins from the very first day after birth. During toddlerhood, young children confront language explosion that enables easy acquisition and development of their first language. Research indicates that even during the last few months of pregnancy, babies listen to their mother’s voice.

Developmental psycholinguistics in children.

Young children’s abilities to understand, process, and produce language are always impressive. During their early childhood, babies reach cognitive developmental milestones in their learning process of memory, language, thinking, and reasoning. As infants grow physically and psychologically, they are able to reach out and explore the world around them in an outstanding way and in greater depth. In year one, for example, babies learn to focus their vision and attention, and mainly learn from things that they see and hear. With this in mind, parents play a vital role in contributing to early children language acquisition and development.

Language acquisition is the process by which language develops in humans. There are two kinds of language acquisition in developmental psycholinguistics: the first language acquisition which refers to the development of language in children; and the second language acquisition once they become adults.

Children’s construction of language emerges from interaction and/or their understanding of communication prior to the language itself, known as “speech”. Toddlers listen carefully to their parents and try to imitate them. They first acquire the sound system of their parents’ utterance –their mother tongue – independently of meaning. Then, they merge it with communicative gestures to eventually form productive speech.

Stages of child language development.

There are four important stages of first language development: the pre-speech stage for first-born babies to 6 months; the babbling stage for infants from 6 to 8 months; the holophrastic stage or the use of a single word when the baby reached the age of 9 to 18 months; and the telegraphic stage – the use of combined words – for 18 – 36 month-children.

Between 2 and 5, young children discover new vocabularies, and they start to expand and refine their ability to use and pronounce different words. Researchers point out that children normally experience a language explosion between the ages of 3 and 6. At age 3, their spoken language consists of roughly 900 words. By age 6, their spoken vocabularies expand between around 8,000 and 14,000 words. Beyond 6 years old, their language use becomes more mature and complicated, as they reach school-age and interact with different persons beside their parents.

Each child has their own way of acquiring language depending on their cognitive and psycholinguistic growth. They learn at their own pace as well. Kids who struggle with language acquisition experience delays in the language learning process whereas other children may develop it quickly and more easily.

Sources: Linguistic Society of America / English finders / gracepoint/ SlideToDoc.

Pinocchio, Bambi, Lion King, Coco and Mulan… Who has not heard of or watched at least one of these Disney classics? These are animated films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios or Disney Animation.

Originally founded in 1923 by brothers Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney, Disney Animation is an American animation studio that designs animated features and short films for the Walt Disney Company (or simply Disney), which is an American diversified multinational media and entertainment institution headquartered in California.

Walt Disney, the talented man behind Mickey Mouse.

Born Walter Elias Disney, Walt Disney had already been passionate about drawing since his early childhood. He started selling his first sketches to neighbors when he was only seven. At school, he showed real passion for cartoons and photography, and one night, he could attend the Academy of Fine Arts. While growing up, Disney strived to hone his skills for drawing and finally chose to make it a career. He first worked as an advertising cartoonist then later ended up making and marketing his first original animated cartoons along with his brother, Roy O. Disney.

In 1928, Mickey Mouse – that now serves as the brand’s mascot – was created and appeared in the American animated short film “Plane Crazy”. However, Mickey debuted publicly in the short film “Steamboat Willie”, which became one of the first sound cartoons. It was when he left Kansas City – where he spent his childhood – and moved to Hollywood, California, that his career picked up momentum and his reputation began to rise. It is no secret that Walt Disney went through many failures before becoming one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century. His remarkable path has become an inspiration to various motivational contents calling for success and perseverance. In the meantime, all his movies carry life lessons inextricably linked to success, love, courage, and patience.

Walt Disney is viewed as a pioneer and innovator of animated cartoon movies who revolutionized the industry of entertainment. Furthermore, he was an extraordinarily and successfully creative man filled with hopes and imaginations. His drive to perfect the art of animation was endless and he was made famous for having created what is called “the Happiest Place on Earth”.

He later founded the amusement theme parks Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Considering his incredible achievement, he won a total of 22 Academy Awards in his lifetime. As a film producer, Walt holds the record for Oscars earned by an individual. On the other hand, along with members of his staff, he received more than 950 honors, including 48 Academy Awards.

Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Since its creation, the studio has produced 59 feature films from the first full-length animated musical feature – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) – to Raya and the Last Dragon, the computer-animated fantasy and adventure film released in 2021, and other enchanting animated films.

Although Walt Disney passed away in 1966, his legacy in the entertainment industry remains honored. Walt Disney Animation Studios keeps surprising and delighting its audience. Nothing much better than watching a good film that encourages you to dream, to believe in and to stick to that dream!

Sources: Biography / Walt Disney Animation Studios / D23 the Official Disney Fan Club.

Madagascar’s cultural wealth sets the country apart from its African neighbors located only 260 miles away. These differences are found in its traditions and customs, its language, and form of communication. Historically, Madagascar had one and only form of communication and the history of its language stood impressive since it was influenced by various cultures from different places.

Historians relate that Malagasy used to communicate between themselves only in a verbal way, which is usually known as “oral tradition”, or “Malagasy oral literature”. A variety of patterned speeches, highly common and valued in Madagascar, underpins the uniqueness of the Malagasy oral literature. It is important to note that Malagasy language was formerly transcribed from the Sorabe – an alphabet based on Arabic writing dating back to the 15th century. Researchers maintain that the Malagasy society was illiterate before the mid- 19th. Except for a minute collection of magic texts in Arabic script – the Sorabe, the only written documents before then came from Europeans (Alan D. Rogers, 1985). Even the well-established kingdom of the central plateau commonly referred to as Imerina kingdom, had no written records and the history of its founding kings was preserved in formal discourses and folk literature spoken with allusive forms. Some of them include Riddle or Ankamantatra which is generically considered the smallest and simplest dialogue in Malagasy oral literature; Hainteny (art of the word or courting poems), Kabary – a formal public speech – and Ohabolana or Proverbs that all belong to the larger dialogues.

Ankamantatra, which literally means "what is to be found out", is the Malagasy riddle language is a form of dialogue – the smallest one – with a question and an answer. It can also be called “fampanononana”. The question usually starts with the words “Inona ary izany?”, or “What is it?” in English. Here are some examples of riddle:

What is it? You do not see it with open but with closed eyes. ............. Sleep or dream.
What is it? A bald man who makes noise. …………. A drum.
What is it? A leper on his throne. ………… A pineapple.

Hainteny. It can be defined as a traditional form of discourse and poetry, which involves heavy use of metaphor and allusion. A Hainteny portrays dialogue and often encompasses many ohabolana or proverbs and kabary (public discourse). A Hainteny may be performed by one or two people.

Ohabolana or Malagasy proverbs are basically monologic. Yet, they are internally dialogic in a way that they realize a limited number of two-sided structures, Which they share with the riddle and the folktale (Lee Haring, 1992). One speaker seeks to exert authority over others by means of ohabolana.The sayings are in this case monologic because the speaker imposes an authoritative interpretation in a single voice. Proverbs are often used to embellish ceremonial public speeches by the mpikabary. Here are some examples of hainteny and ohabolana:

“Ny alina mitondra fisainana.”           Night brings wisdom.

“Tondro tokana tsy mahao hao.”           You cannot catch a louse with one finger.

Tongolo manga faka           Blue-rooted onion,
fary manga vololona           Blue-leaved sugar cane.
ny tandindon-dambany aza manitra           Even the shadow of her lamba is perfumed,
ka mainka ny lamba tinafiny           How much more, then, the lamba she wears. (An excerpt of the collection of Hainteny with Malagasy text, along with English translation and commentary by Leonard Fox.)

“Aza asesiky ny fitia tanteraka, ka tsy mahalala ny ranonorana ho avy.”
Do not be too much in love that you cannot tell when the rain is coming.

“Aleo enjehin’ny omby masiaka toy izay enjehin’ny eritreritra.”
It is better to have a fierce bull running after you than being haunted by your thoughts.

Sources: “Verbal Arts in Madagascar”, Lee Haring, 1992 / “Human Prudence and Implied Divine Sanctions in Malagasy Proverbial Wisdom”, Alan D.Rogers, 1985 / “Hainteny: The Traditional Poetry of Madagascar”, Leonard Fox, 1990.

Standing tall at the heart of Manhattan, the 102-story Art deco skyscraper known as Empire State Building remains an outstanding landmark in the city that never sleeps and a favorite setting for storytellers and moviemakers.

The Empire State Building has appeared in various movies and television shows and is considered a symbol of romance and danger. One of the most memorable movies featuring the building was “Sleepless in Seattle” starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Released in 1993, it was inspired by the 1957 film of Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in “An affair to Remember”, where the bird lovers agreed to meet atop of the Empire State Building to fix their love affairs. Thanks to the romantic scene showcased on top of the building, the place went on to inspire more romantic movies and different genres. Since then, the Empire State building has been defined as an American pop-culture icon that instilled numerous groundbreaking ideas.

No longer the tallest building but still stands majestically!

Although the Empire State Building is no longer the world’s tallest building, it has perfectly kept its magnificence thanks to its unique design. The building is a 102-story Art deco – short for Arts Décoratifs, modern styles combined with luxurious materials – skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan, New York. It stood as the tallest building in the world until 1971, when the World trade Center, also the Twin-towers, was built. Following the September 11th attacks, the two buildings collapsed, and the Empire State Building found again its status as the city’s tallest skyscraper until 2012. As of 2020, the building ranks seventh in the list of the tallest buildings in New York City. It holds the position of the ninth tallest completed skyscraper in the United States, the 49th tallest in the world, and the sixth tallest freestanding structure in the Americas.

Empire State’s symbol.

Classified among the Seven Wonders of the modern world, the 102-story Empire State Building was the product of a fierce competition between Walter Chrysler, of the Chrysler Corporation and John Jacob Raskob, of General Motors. They competed against each other to build the tallest skyscraper in the world. The Chrysler Building was completed first in 1930 and claimed the title until the Empire State Building was completed and seized it in 1931. The Chrysler Building stood 1,046 feet high, whereas the height of the Empire State Building was 1,250 feet. The construction of the Empire State building began on March 17, 1930 and officially opened on May 1, 1931. The entire building only took one year and forty-five days to complete. Its design was changed fifteen times before it was entitled the world’s tallest building.

Regarding the name of the building, it derived from the nickname of the U.S. state of New York “Empire State”. In addition to being an American cultural icon, it is also an enduring symbol of New York. In 1980, the building was designated a “city landmark” by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and added to the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

The Empire State Building’s Art Deco architecture is what especially made the towering a popular tourist attraction. Between 10,000 and 20,000 people visit it each day.

Sources: The New York State Education Department / Britannica

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 05:00

Five books that successful entrepreneurs read!

Between March 2020 and March 2021, the number of people shifting occupations has significantly increased. More people are now seen to turn to either freelance or self-employed work due to uncertainties in the labor market.

Starting one’s business has become a new trend and many aspire today to be an entrepreneur. Nevertheless, gearing towards an entrepreneurial career is always challenging. Beforehand, as a new entrepreneur, you must be willing to acquire new business skills. You also need to dig out the secret of entrepreneurial success and greatness. Most entrepreneurs agree on one thing: a common desire for knowledge that compels them to keep learning and to read a lot.

Reading is a secret weapon for all successful entrepreneurs. Not only does it help in building a lifelong educational self-improvement, but it is also the best way to learn about all relevant topics for running a business. One apparent example that illustrates that idea is the habit of the world’s wealthiest people, who are mostly self-made people and successful entrepreneurs. Reading is among their daily routines. Data show that 88 percent of entrepreneurs read for at least 30 minutes a day – compared to just two percent of the general population.

One of those self-made billionaires is Oprah Winfrey, the American woman who built fortune through her own daily talk show. So, to become the next Oprah Winfrey or other inspiring entrepreneur, it is highly recommended to include reading in your daily habits. To help you, here are five books that may serve you as guides towards your entrepreneurial journey.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This is a classic book about leadership and success. This book helps entrepreneurs have the right mindset and act in an effective way in order to succeed both at the personal and company levels.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It is primarily a self-help book that focuses on how to handle people and make them like you. It is also a business classic people need to read since it teaches how to be a better entrepreneur.

The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy. It shares ideas, methods, and techniques for entrepreneurs to sell faster and easier than before. This is a must-read book for every entrepreneur who wants to grasp the key to a flourishing business.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. The book teaches about financial education, personal investment, and business building. Another great read for every entrepreneur and even non-entrepreneurs!

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Think and grow rich is an all-in-one book. It gives you invaluable tips in goal setting and achievement, entrepreneurial thinking, effective leadership and financial freedom.

It is important to note that reading book is a necessary, but not the only condition for a thriving business and being a highly effective entrepreneur. Successful business owners constantly keep developing new habits.

Sources: Lifehack / Entrepreneur

Some foreigners often get confused about Madagascar until they meet Malagasy people in person. Most of them have always believed that Madagascar was an island that only houses lemurs and fossas. A perception long shaped by … a cartoon!

Madagascar as a DreamWorks Animation.

In 2005, the world’s famous American animation studio known as DreamWorks produced an animated comedy film called “Madagascar”. Despite some critics around the plot of the animated movie and against all expectations, the film has come up trumps. It even became the sixth highest-grossing film of 2005. Who does not know this film with its cheerful original soundtrack “I Like to Move It”?

The plot summary relates the adventurous journey of four animal friends from New York, USA. The film opens with Marty, the zebra, who celebrates his tenth birthday and wishes to experience the wild. Marty and his friendsAlex, the lion, Gloria the hippo, and Melman the giraffe – spent all their years in New York’s Central Park Zoo. One day, on his anniversary, Marty grew bored with his daily routine and wanted to break it by following the zoo’s penguins who already planned to escape. The adventure of the four friends then started when they found themselves in Madagascar – where they met king Julien, the famous lemur– after they were shipped off to a Kenyan wildlife preserve and the penguins hijacked the ship.

After a big hit, the film launched a franchise and came up with “Madagascar Escape 2 Africa” released in 2008 – a sequel to the 2005 film, “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” (2012); and “Penguins of Madagascar” (2014).

Madagascar in real life.

Although the animated movie seems a bit far-fetched, it shows somewhat aspects of Madagascar. Some animals only Madagascar is home to are featured in the movie and play a key role in the plot. One of them is king Julien, the legendary lemur. When talking of Madagascar’s wildlife, what comes first in mind is “lemurs” because this species is native only to and endemic to the island. In the film, Madagascar is depicted as an island governed by lemurs and blessed with a rich biodiversity.

Here are five important facts about Madagascar that sometimes go unnoticed:

• Madagascar is the fourth largest island on the planet, of about 587,041 square miles, after Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo. Madagascar is among the largest island countries in the world – with more than 28 million inhabitants in 2021 (based on Worldometers data).
• Madagascar is a sovereign state in the Ocean Indian officially proclaimed Democratic Republic of Madagascar in 1975. The island is currently named Republic of Madagascar.
• Madagascar has natural and cultural riches that make it a unique destination.
• It has a large population and is a melting pot of different cultures.
• The island is one of the world’s richest biodiversity hotspots with high rate of endemism. It is home to five percent of the world’s species. About 95 percent of Madagascar’ reptiles, 89 percent of its flora and 92 percent of its mammals exist nowhere else on Earth (WWF).

Madagascar is far from being a jungle. Madagascar is more than a cartoon. The little information most foreigners know about the country comes from an animation movie. And that can be misleading!

Sources: Los Angeles Times/JumpStart Games/ The Telegraph/ Britannica/ ONTM.

Every four years, the most talented athletes from around the globe compete in the major international multi-sport event, commonly known as “the Olympic Games”. However, basically, the event happens every two years: the Summer Olympics every leap year and the Winter Olympics two years after each leap year. The famous competition took its root in the ancient Greece where it was staged every four year at Olympia, Greece.

Throwback to the ancient Olympic Games.

The history of the Olympic Games goes back to the ancient Greece 3,000 years ago. Their inception was first inspired by the ancient Olympic Games – a series of athletic competitions among representatives of Greek city-states to honor Zeus. Historically, the year 776 B.C. was told to be the year when the first games were organized. At that time, “Olympiad” – a period of four years – was the unit of time used in historical chronologies.

The real origin of the Olympics remains blurring and unknown. Yet, the date of 776 B.C., is often used as a reference and cited in written sources. Since the purpose of the games was traditionally to honor Greek God, historians linked them up to mythology. The myths of the origin of the Olympic Games identify Heracles, later Hercules, and his father Zeus as the progenitors of the games. According to legend, Heracles was the one who entitled the games “Olympic”, and who established the custom of scheduling them every four years. The myth maintains that after Heracles completed his twelve labors – a series of episodes concerning a penance Heracles carried out – he built the Olympic Stadium as a tribute to his father, Zeus.

Highlights on the modern Olympics.

Some time after reaching a milestone, the Olympics declined due to the outbreaks of wars and then was abolished in the early Christian era. It took about 1,500 years to see the Olympic Games emerge again. The event resumed in the late nineteenth century, thanks to a French nobleman and educator named Pierre de Coubertin. Pierre de Coubertin believed that he could revive the games with the idea of establishing an educational program in France based on the ancient Greek notion of a balanced development of mind and body. As he advocated for the revival of the Olympic Games, Coubertin attempted to convince sports delegates and representatives about his project. After being rejected several times, he finally found support from nine countries – Belgium, England, France, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.

The revival of the Olympic Games, then, took place in 1896. The modern Olympics were born. To honor the Greek games, the first modern Olympics were organized in Greece where thirteen countries competed. On these first events, nine sports were on the agenda: cycling, fencing, gymnastics, lawn tennis, shooting, swimming, track and field, weight lifting, and wrestling. The evolution of the Olympic Movement – governed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) founded by Pierre de Coubertin – resulted in several changes in the games later in the 20th century. The Winter Olympics were added first, meant for ice sports. Then followed the Paralympic Games for athletes with disabilities, the Youth Olympic Games and finally the World Games – sports not contested in the Olympic Games. Nevertheless, the Summer Games remain the focal point of the modern Olympics and offer a wider scope of events.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Summer Olympics have been postponed and are currently happening until August 8 in Tokyo, Japan.

Sources: Bureau of Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Preparation / Scholastic / Penn Museum.

After graduating from high school, students are compelled to choose on whether continuing their studies or not, which sometimes make them face different challenges. Deciding which university to apply for and what kind of program to follow is a quite different matter. Those who intend to pursue their studies, however, must get prepared to deal with other constraints regarding their academic choice including the costs of university tuition fees. Luckily, in the U.S., most colleges and universities offer both resident and international students scholarships.

If you are a student desirous to study in the U.S. but do not have the necessary means to cover the costs of your studies, take a look at this list of scholarships available in the U.S. that may help you get funding.

Academic scholarships.

An academic scholarship is generally awarded to students who demonstrate a high level of scholastic aptitude and performance. It is a merit-based scholarship that recognizes the academic achievement of the student. Most U.S. universities offer merit scholarships that cover the full cost of a four-year academic program. For example, Indiana University – Bloomington awards a study grant through the merit-based Wells Scholarship, the Ohio State University – Columbus through the Eminence Fellows program, and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation through its National Merit Scholarship Program.

Athletic scholarships.

Athletic scholarships are very common in the United States. They are mainly awarded to an individual proving an outstanding ability and performance in sports. This can be also an amount of financial aid awarded to a student-athlete from the college athletic department. This is the case for NCAA Division I and II Universities – The National Collegiate Athletic Association – offering athletic scholarships and guaranteeing student-athlete’s success both on the field and in the classroom.

Community service scholarships.

A community service scholarship is a volunteering-based subvention for college students showing strong commitment to their community through volunteering for instance. We can quote the Equitable Excellence Scholarship, which can award up to $25,000 to U.S. citizens who engage in positively impacting their community. It is similar to the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, which provide grants for both in-state and international students.

Scholarships for hobbies and extracurricular activities.

Passion, talent and special interests can help a student get their studies fully funded. This is the case for hobby and extracurricular-based scholarships which allow students to leverage their extracurricular activities and translate them to financial awards. The Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest gives away $20,000 in cash grants to students who make the best prom attire out of Duck Brand Duct Tape – a duct tape outfit. Another example is the Archibald Rutledge Scholarship Program offered by the South Carolina Department of Education, which rewards skills in creative writing, dance, theater and visual art.

Military scholarships.

The U.S. has a variety of military scholarships available for military staffs, their spouses, and veterans. Most military scholarships and grants are often reserved to students who pursue subjects of obvious application within the military field such as medicine and military strategy. Moreover, all the branches of the U.S. military – the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Coast Guard – can offer them partial or full scholarships through what is called Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.

Sources: U.S. News & World Report / Top Universities

A dream come true! These are the words that best sum up the story of Madam C.J Walker – the first African American woman to be a self-made millionaire.

Born Sarah Breedlove on December, 23, 1867 on a plantation in Delta, Louisiana Madam C.J. Walker was the daughter of Owen and Minerva Anderson Breedlove – both formerly enslaved. Due to hardships and in order to be a homeowner, she had to get married at the age of 14 with a man named Moses Mc Williams. In 1885, they had a daughter called Lelia, later known as A’Lelia Walker, who became the central figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Two years later, her husband died leaving her to raise up her only daughter on her own.

A dream that was born from scalp problem.

When Sarah moved to St. Louis to join her brothers and worked as a laundress, she started to lose most of her hair due to a scalp ailment, which is mainly triggered by poor hygiene and diet. She also noticed that many poor black women suffered from the scalp disease, leading her to find solution to cure it. She experimented with different ingredients until she was eventually able to design a secret formula that helps stimulating hair growth.

Up to that time, Sarah got her life more and more improved when she began to sell her products door-to-door in her neighborhoods in St. Louis. In 1905, she moved to Denver where she met Charles J. Walker and to whom she got engaged. Starting from then, she changed her name by taking her husband’s and finally became the well-known Madam C.J. Walker. After her name changed, she founded her business and traveled for a year to promote her products by selling Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, a scalp conditioning and healing formula that she maintained she always dreamed of.

The birth and growth of Madam C.J. Walker’s empire.

In 1910, Madam C.J Walker set up a laboratory and beauty school in Indianapolis, the known nation’s largest inland manufacturing center, and she settled there. In addition to the factory and beauty salon, she also founded a training school. Her career knew a significant milestone as her business continued to grow and her annual sales increased, and she was repeatedly referred to as a millionaire over the last few years of her life. Apart from being a businesswoman, Madam C.J Walker was also highly involved in social and political activism. She advocated for the advancement of black Americans and for an end to lynching. When in Harlem, she took special interest in the anti-lynching movement of NAACP or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She contributed $5,000 to the association.

She worked hard throughout her life, but too hard to the point that she developed some health issues. She got increasingly sick and then died in 1919 in New York. Madam C.J. Walker’s life journey and experience proved that it is possible to reach success and fulfill one’s dreams through hard work, perseverance, and faith.

“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations… I have built my own factory on my own ground.”  Madam C.J. Walker, July 1912.

Sources: Madam C.J. Walker website / National Women’s History Museum.

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This website was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.