Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (2020-TV MA)
Content Area
3h 11min
Movie Story Line
An African American washerwoman rises from poverty to build a beauty empire and become the first female self-made millionaire. Based on a true story.
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Teaching Idea #1

What was the economic reality for women of color in the late 19th century? Quantify how much better off Madam Walker’s beauty culturalists were economically. Madam Walker became wealthy catering to customers in a highly personalized manner after her own struggle with hairloss. Think of a product today that is marketed in a similar fashion and compare and contrast that entrepreneur’s story with Madam Walker’s.

Teaching Idea #2

The film made the conflict between Madam Walker and Annie Malone a central feature of their lives, how was their relationship in real life? Was either one successful at the expense of either? Why do you think the filmmakers made this choice?

Teaching Idea #3

What percentage of new companies survive their first 5 years in business in the U.S., today? What are their main obstacles and how did Madam Walker overcome them?

Teaching Idea #4

Visit Guy Raz’s ‘How I Built This’ podcast and listen to an episode about a company you’ve heard of. Does knowing more about the creator’s vision change how you view the company? If yes, how so?