If I could talk about living a legacy
Published 4:04 pm Saturday, August 3, 2019
I am the spitting image of my mom. People tell me that often. Kate Hudson looks like her mom Goldie Hawn. If I could talk to a daughter in history A’lelia Walker would be one. A’lelia is the daughter of Madam C. J. Walker. She lived a legacy while forging her own. I would ask her about working with her mother building the Walker
Manufacturing Company (hair care products) and Lelia College (hair styling) and what she learned from those experiences. Did she feel an obligation to continue the company’s mission after her mom’s death?
My conversation would also discuss the Harlem Renaissance and the exhilarating feeling A’lelia must have felt supporting actors, musicians and writers in an era when African Americans freely flourished in the arts. The woman turned a room in her mansion into what she called the Dark Tower where artists came to perform and fellowship with each other. How amazing is that!
As a young child, A’lelia was exposed to classical and opera music and her travels to European countries opened the door to various cultures for her as an adult. Langston Hughes called her the “Joy Goddess” of the Harlem Renaissance. Wonder what she would have thought about that description?
I can imagine as with other daughters A’lelia had to be comfortable in her own skin and secure in her own ideas about business and the arts in her life. How did she achieve that confidence? Furthermore, my talk would end with asking A’lelia how she feels about the portrayal of beauty and the arts today. A’lelia and her mother promoted self confidence and self sufficiency when they started their company — it wasn’t about just outer beauty. The arts are a place where all people can be in an environment to freely express themselves through their craft. I can relate to that. I pray others can, too.
Judy Moore is a resident of Wylliesburg and a tour guide with The Central Museum. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.