This Colorized Photo Will Change How You Look At Madam C.J. Walker

Many people hear the name Madam C.J. Walker and recall her as the first Black-American millionaire. While she actually wasn't the first nor a millionaire at all according to Salon, Walker did indeed become very rich after creating a line of hair care products catering to Black women. It helped her become one of the wealthiest Black women of her time.

Born as Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, in Louisiana, Walker came into the world to parents who were born into slavery. Sadly, she would barely know her parents as she became an orphan very early into her childhood and moved to Mississippi, per Smithsonian. She faced a lot of adversity, which likely led to her early marriage at the age of 14 to a man named Moses McWilliams. That coupling gave Walker her one and only child — her daughter A'Lelia. But Walker would face another dramatic turn in her life when her husband died when their child was just a toddler, per History. Her life afterward would change drastically.

Walker decided to move to St. Louis, Missouri to join her brothers, who were all in the hair care service business as barbers. When she got there, she worked two jobs to support herself and her daughter, but she later discovered another personal problem; she was shedding hair (via PBS). She would meet Black businesswoman Annie Malone, who was selling hair care and straightening tools. As a result of their meeting, she started working for Malone and became a saleswoman for her company.

Madam C.J. Walker's most famous photo seen in a different light

That would be the start of Walker's entrepreneurial spirit because it inspired her to experiment. And like many great inventors, finding solutions to her own problems led to the creation of new products — even her own line. Because other Black women had similar hair issues and found her products helpful, Walker was making quite a lot of money. She widened her market when she moved to Denver to bank on the effects that the region's drier climate had on the hair of Black women there. She also met a man named C.J. Walker and they wed. She took his name and that is how she became Madam C.J. Walker. She would go on to enjoy the successes of her entrepreneurship, and even opened a beauty school in Indiana, per Indiana History.

There are countless photos of Walker available on the internet, particularly one of her famously driving with friends in her luxury car, (via New York Public Library). But her most recognized photo is that of her profile. Here, the photo has been colorized, offering us a more modern glimpse of what the famous entrepreneur looked like.

The color version makes it obvious Walker was wearing some makeup. Her cheeks are slightly rosy and her lips are a shade of pink. Walker's top is covered by what looks like a detailed light-colored top or dress, and she is wearing what looks to be gold earrings and necklace. All in all, she looks regal and powerful — a fitting image for a pioneering businesswoman.