In Irvington, New York, there stands Madam C. J. Walker’s “Villa Lewaro,” a restored National Historic Landmark residence that embodies the optimism and perseverance of the American entrepreneurial spirit. It was built from 1916 to 1918, and was designed in the Italianate style by architect, Vertner Tandy.
Born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 in Delta, Louisiana where her parents and elder siblings were enslaved, Madam Walker would become a cosmetics and business pioneer.
Developing beauty and hair products for black women, Madam Walker trained nearly 23,000 sales agents and workers, serving customers in the United States, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Recognized by the Guinness Book of Records for being America’s first, self-made female millionaire, Madam Walker’s achievements in the face of racial challenges of 20th century America are impressive and without comparison.
The preservation of Villa Lewaro reminds us about her remarkable life once lived.
This is a privately held residence and not open to the public.