Archive for the ‘Entrepeneur’ Category
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey (born 1954) is the President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, America’s largest philanthropy devoted to health and health care. She is the first woman and the first African-American to head the Foundation, which has an endowment of about $10 billion  and distributes more than $400 million a year .
Risa was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes. And one of the grio’s History Makers in the Making 
Born in Seattle, Washington, in 1954, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey earned her undergraduate degree at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, her M.D. at Harvard Medical School and completed her internship and residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. In 1984 she was named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and received her master of business administration degree in health care administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1986. She is master and former regent of the American College of Physicians, where she chaired its committees on ethics and human rights. .
Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey joined the Foundation in April 2001 as a senior vice president and director of its Health Care Group, overseeing all grantmaking and programs related to the Foundation’s efforts in the areas of access and chronic illness care. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served in a variety of roles at the University of Pennsylvania. She was director of the Institute on Aging, University of Pennsylvania; chief of the division of geriatric medicine; Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine and Health Care Systems; and associate chief of staff for geriatrics and extended care for the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center. She also served in the United States Department of Health and Human Services as deputy administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research (now known as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey was a member of the White House Task Force on Health Care Reform and served as a consultant to the White House on issues of health policy.
Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey has served on several federal advisory committees, including the Task Force on Aging Research, the Office of Technology Assessment Panel on Preventive Services for Medicare Beneficiaries, the Institute of Medicine‘s Panel on Disease and Disability Prevention Among Older Adults, and the National Committee for Vital and Health Statistics (where she chaired the Subcommittee on Minority Populations).
She also served on the President’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry. She recently completed service as co-vice chair of a congressionally requested Institute of Medicine study on racial disparities in health care .
She is married to Dr. Robert Lavizzo-Mourey and has two adult children. She currently resides in Princeton, New Jersey.
Helene D. Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., is currently president and CEO of CARE, a leading humanitarian aid organization fighting global poverty. Before joining CARE in 2006, Dr. Gayle directed the HIV, TB, and Reproductive Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and spent 20 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), focusing primarily on HIV/AIDS. Dr. Gayle also served as chair of the Obama administration‘s Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. She has been called one of the top female leaders and global thinkers in the world.
Helene D. Gayle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. She earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College, an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.P.H. at Johns Hopkins University. She is board certified in pediatrics, completing a residency in pediatric medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Helene D. Gayle is president and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization with approximately 10,000 staff whose poverty fighting programs have reached 82 million people in 87 countries. Since joining CARE USA in 2006, Dr. Gayle has led efforts to reinforce CARE’s commitment to empowering girls and women to bring lasting change to poor communities. Under her leadership, CARE has strengthened its focus on long term impact, increased policy and advocacy efforts and deepened connections between poverty and the environment. Gayle has leveraged the power of CARE’s corporate and NGO partners to significantly expand CARE’s reach across the globe.
An expert on health, global development and humanitarian issues, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), focused primarily on combating HIV/AIDS. She was appointed as the first director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, and achieved the rank of Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Service. Dr. Gayle also served as the AIDS coordinator and chief of the HIV/AIDS division for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Dr. Gayle then directed the HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, directing programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues.
Under Dr. Gayle’s leadership, CARE has introduced three signature programs as part of its “Pathway to Empowerment.” “Mothers Matter” focuses on child and maternal health, seeking to improve access to safe pregnancy and delivery services for 30 million women in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by 2015. “Power Within” focuses on girls’ education, seeking to empower 10 million girls around the world to access quality primary education and gain leadership skills by 2015. And “Access Africa” focuses on microfinancing, seeking to ensure that 30 million people in 39 countries have access to a set of basic financial services by the next decade.
Dr. Gayle serves on several boards, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Rockefeller Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive Company and ONE. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Public Health Association. Dr. Gayle also chaired the Obama Administration’s Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and currently serves on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
Dr. Gayle has been named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers,”, Newsweek‘s top 10 “Women in Leadership,” and the Wall Street Journal‘s “50 Women to Watch,” as well as one of the “100 Most Influential Atlantans” and the “100 Most Influential Georgians.”
Dr. Gayle has published numerous scientific articles and been featured by media outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, ForbesWoman, Glamour, O magazine, National Public Radio, and CNN. Starting in June 2009, Gayle served as co-chair of the Center for Strategic & International Studies Commission on Smart Global Health Policy alongside four star Admiral William J. Fallon.
Her contributions have been honored with awards from Columbia University, Spelman College, the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, the U.S. Public Health Service and Bryn Mawr College among others. She has received numerous honorary degrees and holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University.
Earnest Stanley O’Neal (born October 7, 1951) is an American business executive. He is the former President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., having served in numerous senior management positions at the company prior to this appointment. He has taken criticism for his performance during his reign as chief executive at Merrill Lynch, and the deterioration of the firm’s stability and capital position. During the final hearings prior to the Bank of America merger, numerous people – including a founder’s son, Win Smith – laid the blame on O’Neal for the firm’s downfall and loss of independence.
O’Neal was a member of the board of directors of General Motors from 2001 through 2006. He currently serves on the board of Alcoa.
O’Neal’s father moved his family from Wedowee, Alabama to Atlanta, where he worked on a General Motors assembly line. Stan O’Neal also worked briefly on GM’s assembly line as a teenager under a work-study program offered by the General Motors Institute (later known as Kettering University), where he gained a degree in industrial administration in 1974. GM later provided O’Neal a scholarship to attend Harvard Business School, where he attained his MBA in 1978 and later rejoined GM as a Treasury Analyst.
O’Neal initially worked as an analyst for General Motors; within two years he was a director in the treasury division. In 1986, he joined Merrill Lynch and by the early 1990s, he was running Merrill’s leveraged finance division. After spells as global head of capital markets and co-head of the corporate and institutional client group, he spent two years as CFO from 1998 to 2000. In 2000, he was appointed president of the U.S. Private Client Group, the first executive of the division that oversees Merrill’s brokerage who had not himself been a broker. O’Neal led massive layoffs within the division. He became president of the firm in 2001 in a palace intrigue that eventually led to the early ouster of his predecessor and one-time mentor David Komansky. By 2003, he was CEO and chairman. He was one of the first African Americans to hold such a high position on Wall Street. O’Neal earned $48 million in 2006 and $46 million in 2007.
When he came to power, he attempted to get rid of the ‘Mother Merrill’ culture of job security, arguing that it promoted cronyism instead of merit. He also wanted to transform Merrill into a trading powerhouse, and beat Goldman Sachs at its own game. He promoted loyalists like Osman Semerci, who shared his vision. The new team plowed into the mortgage-backed CDO market on a massive scale; Merrill was one of the top CDO underwriters of the boom era. People who complained about risk were fired or sidelined. Initially this plan brought huge bonuses to Merrill, but when the market turned, trouble brewed. 
During August and September 2007, as the sub-prime crisis swept through the global financial market, Merrill Lynch announced losses of $8 billion. O’Neal realized that he had steered Merrill Lynch into the disastrous sub-prime arena, and was responsible for the losses. As the crisis worsened, O’Neal approached Wachovia Bank about a possible merger, without first obtaining the approval of Merrill’s Board of Directors, which led to his ouster. O’Neal walked away with a golden parachute compensation package that included Merrill stock and options valued at $161.5 million at the time. The board hired John Thain to replace O’Neal, believing that he could save the business. A year later, he did the same thing O’Neal had planned to do; sold the company. This time, though, it was for a much lower price, and he sold it to Bank of America.
On January 18, 2008, O’Neal was named to the board of directors of Alcoa.
O’Neal is said to have an “abrasive” personality. CNBC includes O’Neal in their list of “Worst American CEOs of All Time”. When Thain arrived at Merrill he scrapped O’Neal’s practice of having the security guards always hold an entire elevator bank open excusively for him. In The New York Times Magazine on April 18, 2010, O’Neal was described as one of the “feckless dolts” who helped precipitate the financial crisis of 2007.
Franklin Delano “Frank” Raines (born January 14, 1949) is an American business executive. He is the former chairman and chief executive officer of the Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, who served as White House budget director under President Bill Clinton. His role leading Fannie Mae has come under scrutiny.
Raines was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of a janitor. Raines graduated from Harvard College, Harvard Law School; and Magdalen College, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
In 1969, Raines first worked in national politics, preparing a report for the Nixon administration on the causes and patterns of youth unrest around the country related to the Vietnam War. He served in the Carter Administration as associate director for economics and government in the Office of Management and Budget and assistant director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff from 1977 to 1979. Then he joined Lazard Freres and Co., where he worked for 11 years and became a general partner. In 1991 he became Fannie’s Mae’s Vice Chairman, a post he left in 1996 in order to join the Clinton Administration as the Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, where he served until 1998. In 1999, he returned to Fannie Mae as CEO, “the first black man to head a Fortune 500 company.”
On December 21, 2004 Raines accepted what he called “early retirement” from his position as CEO while U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigators continued to investigate alleged accounting irregularities. He is accused by The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), the regulating body of Fannie Mae, of abetting widespread accounting errors, which included the shifting of losses so senior executives, such as himself, could earn large bonuses.
In 2006, the OFHEO announced a suit against Raines in order to recover some or all of the $90 million in payments made to Raines based on the overstated earnings, initially estimated to be $9 billion but have been announced as $6.3 billion.
Civil charges were filed against Raines and two other former executives by the OFHEO in which the OFHEO sought $110 million in penalties and $115 million in returned bonuses from the three accused. On April 18, 2008, the government announced a settlement with Raines together with J. Timothy Howard, Fannie’s former chief financial officer, and Leanne G. Spencer, Fannie’s former controller. The three executives agreed to pay fines totaling about $3 million, which will be paid by Fannie’s insurance policies. Raines also agreed to donate the proceeds from the sale of $1.8 million of his Fannie stock and to give up stock options, which were valued at $15.6 million when issued. The stock options however had no value. Raines also gave up an estimated $5.3 million of “other benefits” said to be related to his pension and forgone bonuses.
An editorial in The Wall Street Journal called it a “paltry settlement” which allowed Raines and the other two executives to “keep the bulk of their riches.” In 2003 alone, Raines’s compensation was over $20 million.
A statement issued by Raines said of the consent order, “is consistent with my acceptance of accountability as the leader of Fannie Mae and with my strong denial of the allegations made against me by OFHEO.”
In a settlement with OFHEO and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Fannie paid a record $400 million civil fine. Fannie, which is the largest American financier and guarantor of home mortgages, also agreed to make changes in its corporate culture and accounting procedures and ways of managing risk.
In June 2008 The Wall Street Journal reported that Franklin Raines was one of several public officials who received below market rates loans at Countrywide Financial because the corporation considered the officeholders “FOA’s”–”Friends of Angelo” (Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo). He received loans for over $3 million while CEO of Fannie Mae
Kenneth Irvine Chenault (born June 2, 1951, French pronunciation: [ʃeno]) is an American business executive. He has been the CEO and Chairman of American Express since 2001. He is the third African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Early life, education, and legal career
Chenault grew up on Long Island, New York as the son of a dentist and dental hygienist. He attended the alternative Waldorf School of Garden City, where he served as senior class president. He then received B.A. in history from Bowdoin College in 1973, and juris doctor from Harvard Law School in 1976.
After Harvard, he worked as an associate at the law firm Rogers & Wells in New York City, and as a consultant for Bain & Company.
CEO of American Express
He joined American Express in 1981, working in the Strategic Planning Group. He became president and chief operating officer in 1997. He became CEO of American Express in 2001.
While CEO of American Express in 2007, Chenault earned a total compensation of $50,126,585, and in 2008, he earned a total compensation of $42,752,461. In 2009, he earned a total compensation of $16,617,639, which included a base salary of $1,201,923, a cash bonus of $10,450,000, an option grant of $3,985,637, and other compensation worth $980,079.
He is currently co-chair of the Business Roundtable, a director at IBM, and a member at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1995, Ebony listed him as one of 50 “living pioneers” in the African-American community. Chenault was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2008, he gave the commencement address at Howard University.
In May 2010, he gave the commencement speech at Wake Forest University and Northeastern University.
On Monday, November 15, 2010, Old North Foundation recognized Chenault with its Third Lantern Award for individual commitment and dedication to public service. The Foundation honored Chenault and American Express for their significant contributions to the preservation efforts of many significant monuments and landmark structures, including the steeple of the Old North Church. Chenault joins a long list of prestigious Third Lantern Award recipients, including President Clinton, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, former Boston Mayor Kevin H. White and Boston Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino.
Chenault resides in New Rochelle, New York with his wife and children
Kenneth Carleton Frazier (born December 17, 1954(1954-12-17)) is the Chairman, President and CEO of Merck & Co., and is the first African American to serve as the CEO of a pharmaceutical company.
Frazier, a native of Philadelphia, graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1975 with a BA in Political Science, and attended Harvard Law School.
Frazier joined Merck in 1992, and became general counsel of the company in 2006. As general counsel, he was credited with overseeing the company’s defense against Vioxx-related litigation. From 2007 to 2010, he served as executive vice president and president of the company’s global human health unit. In 2010, he became Merck’s president and on January 1, 2011 its CEO.
On November 11, 2011, as a member of the Penn State board of trustees, the board selected Frazier as chairman of a blue ribbon commission empaneled to investigate a child sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant football coach and allegations of a cover up by university officials
In the 2000s African Americans remained rare as chief executives of “Fortune 500″ companies—the 500 largest companies in the United States. When Clarence Otis Jr. was named CEO of Darden Restaurants in December of 2004, he was one of just seven. He reached his high-level post not only through skills and hard work but also through versatility: his career led him through law, investment banking, corporate finance, and operations management, and he excelled in each new area he challenged himself with. At the helm of a company with more than 140,000 employees serving over 300 million meals a year, Otis kept a clear focus on corporate essentials. “No matter what a person’s level or function is within a company,” he explained to Carolyn M. Brown of Black Enterprise, “he or she needs to understand the basics—how that company makes money.”
Unlike Joe Lee, the former Darden CEO who became his mentor, Otis didn’t have a long background in the restaurant business. Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on April 11, 1956, he moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was young. He grew up in the vast Watts ghetto, at the height of the civil unrest of the 1960s. His father worked as a janitor for the city of Los Angeles, and his mother Calanthus Hall Otis, a homemaker, insisted that her children work hard in school and finish all their homework. The result in Clarence Otis’s case was a high-school standout who won admission and a scholarship to prestigious Williams College in Massachusetts after being encouraged to apply by Los Angeles lawyer Felix Grossman.
Otis’s scholastic record at Williams was likewise a distinguished one. He graduated magna cum laude in 1977 with dual majors in economics and political science, receiving the school’s Political Science Writing Prize and Phi Beta Kappa recognition in his senior year. Otis moved on to Stanford University Law School in California, earning his law degree in 1980. For four years in the early 1980s, Otis worked in the field of corporate law, specializing in the fields of securities law and mergers and acquisitions. He started out with the firm Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine and moved on to Gordon, Hurwitz, Butowsky, Weitzen, Shalov & Wein. From the start he ran with a high-flying crowd; one of his clients was famed financier Carl Icahn. Otis and his wife Jacqueline Bradley were married in 1983 and have raised three children. Bradley later became board director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
But, he told Jerry W. Jackson of the Orlando Sentinel, “I thought the finance side was more exciting than the law, so I moved to an investment banking firm”—Kidder, Peabody & Company. The barely 30-year-old Otis became a vice president at First Boston Corporation in 1987. In this job he got his first exposure to Florida’s booming economy as he worked on real estate deals there. He became interested in public and government finance, serving as managing director of Giebert Municipal Capital in 1990 and 1991, and as a vice president and later managing director in Chemical Bank’s securities arm between 1991 and 1995. He played a key part in turning around the bank’s struggling public finance division, shepherding funding of $2.6 billion for tax-exempt pollution-control projects and participating a $208 million New York City bond issue that was named deal of the year by Institutional Investor magazine.
In 1995, Otis was recruited by Darden Restaurants in Orlando for the post of treasurer, overseeing finance activities for the 1,200-restaurant chain. He correctly assessed Darden as a company on the rise as its “casual dining” market niche—high-volume sit-down restaurants a step above fast food in terms of quality—was growing rapidly. His biggest motivator, however seemed once again to be the opportunity to acquire a new skill set. “It’s just the opportunity to broaden the work I do in the capital markets to include equity and taxable fixed-income,” he told The Bond Buyer in explanation of his rationale for the move. “And it gives me a chance to work in operational finance, which was a big factor driving this decision.” Otis came to the company in the final stages of its spin-off from food giant General Mills.
Read more: Clarence Otis Jr. Biography – Darden, President, Finance, and Restaurants – JRank Articles http://biography.jrank.org/pages/2927/Otis-Clarence-Jr.html#ixzz1nyrqiZ1W
Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth of over $450 million as of 2010. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving thirteen Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. He is consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all-time. He was ranked so by MTV in their list of The Greatest MCs of All-Time in 2006. Two of his albums, Reasonable Doubt (1996) and The Blueprint (2001) are considered landmarks in the genre with both of them being ranked in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Blender included the former on their 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die.
Jay-Z co-owns the 40/40 Club, is part-owner of the NBA‘s New Jersey Nets and is also the creator of the line Rocawear. He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings, one of the three founders of Roc-A-Fella Records, and the founder of Roc Nation. As an artist, he holds the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200 with eleven. Jay-Z also has had four number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, one as lead artist.
He married American R&B superstar Beyoncé Knowles on April 4, 2008. On December 11, 2009, Jay-Z was ranked as the 10th most successful artist of the 2000′s by Billboard and ranking as the 5th top solo male artist and as the 4th top rapper behind Eminem, Nelly, and 50 Cent.
Jay-Z (top) with a friend (left) in Trenton, New Jersey, circa 1988
Originally from Marcy Houses, a housing project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City, the future “Jay-Z” then known as Shawn Carter, was abandoned by his father and in 1982, he shot his brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry. Carter attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn, along with future rapper AZ, until it was closed down. After that he attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in Downtown Brooklyn, with fellow future rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, and Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey, but did not graduate. In his music he refers to having been involved in selling crack cocaine.
According to his mother, Gloria Carter, her son Shawn used to wake his siblings up at night banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table. Eventually, she bought him a boom box for his birthday, sparking his interest in music. He began freestyling, writing lyrics, and followed the music of many artists popular at the time. In his neighborhood, Carter was known as “Jazzy”, a nickname that eventually developed into his showbiz/stage name, “Jay-Z”. The moniker is also an homage to his musical mentor, Jaz-O, as well as to the J/Z subway lines that have a stop at Marcy Avenue in Brooklyn.
Jay-Z can briefly be heard on several of Jaz-O’s early recordings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including “The Originators” and “Hawaiian Sophie”. Jay-Z was also involved in and won several battles with rapper LL Cool J in the early 90′s as part of a plan to get a sought-after record deal. He first became known to a wide audience by being featured on the posse cut “Show and Prove” on the 1994 Big Daddy Kane album Daddy’s Home. Jay-Z has been referred to as Big Daddy Kane‘s hype man during this period, though Kane explains that he didn’t fill the traditional hype man role, instead Jay-Z “basically made cameo appearances on stage. When I would leave the stage to go change outfits, I would bring out Jay-Z and Positive K and let them freestyle until I came back to the stage”. He made an appearance on a popular song by Big L, “Da Graveyard”, and on Mic Geronimo‘s “Time to Build”, which also featured early appearances by DMX, and Ja Rule in 1995. His first official rap single was called “I Can’t Get With That”, for which he released a music video.
1994–1997: Reasonable Doubt and In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
From the beginning of his professional recording career, when no major label gave him a record deal, Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and Kareem Biggs created Roc-A-Fella Records as their own independent label in 1995. After striking a deal with Priority to distribute his material, Jay-Z released his 1996 debut album Reasonable Doubt with beats from acclaimed producers such as DJ Premier and Super DJ Clark Kent and a notable appearance by The Notorious B.I.G.. The album reached number 23 on the Billboard 200, and was well-received by critics. This album would later be included in Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” as No.248 and eventually reach platinum status.
After reaching a new distribution deal with Def Jam in 1997, Jay-Z released his follow-up In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. Executively produced by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, it sold better than his previous effort. Jay-Z later explained that the album was made during one of the worst periods of his life, he was reeling from the death of his close friend The Notorious B.I.G. The album was a personal revelation for Jay-Z as he spun the tale of his hard knock upbringing. The album’s glossy production stood as a contrast to his first release, and some dedicated fans felt he had “sold out”. However, the album did feature some beats from producers who had worked with him on Reasonable Doubt, namely DJ Premier and Ski. Like its predecessor, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 earned Platinum status in the United States.
1998–2000: Vol. 2…, criminal charges and mainstream success
In 1998, Jay-Z released Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life which spawned the biggest hit of his career at the time, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)“. He relied more on flow and wordplay, and he continued with his penchant for mining beats from the popular producers of the day such as Swizz Beatz, an upstart in-house producer for Ruff Ryders, and Timbaland. Other producers included DJ Premier, Erick Sermon, The 45 King, and Kid Capri. Charting hits from this album included “Can I Get A…”, featuring Ja Rule and Amil, and “Nigga What, Nigga Who“, also featuring Amil. Vol. 2 would eventually become Jay-Z’s most commercially successful album; it was certified 5× Platinum in the United States and has to date sold over five million copies. The album went on to win a Grammy Award, although Jay-Z boycotted the ceremony protesting DMX’s failure to garner a Grammy nomination. In 1999, Jay-Z dueted with Mariah Carey on “Heartbreaker“, a song from her seventh album, Rainbow. In that same year, Jay-Z released Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, the album proved to be successful and sold over 3 million records. Vol. 3′s most successful single was “Big Pimpin’“, featuring UGK. Around the same time, Jay-Z was accused of stabbing record executive Lance “Un” Rivera for what Jay-Z perceived was Rivera’s bootlegging of Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter. The stabbing allegedly occurred at the record release party for Q-Tip’s debut solo album Amplified at the Kit Kat Klub, a now defunct night club in Times Square, New York City, on December 9. Jay-Z’s associates at the party were accused of causing a commotion within the club, which Jay-Z allegedly used as cover when he supposedly stabbed Rivera in the stomach with a five-inch (127 mm) blade. In his book Decoded, Jay-Z addresses his assault case. While he didn’t apologize for his actions, he did express regret that the incident happened and attributed it to a loss of control, saying that there was no reason for him to get into a situation that put him and people who depended on him at risk. He also vowed to never get involved in a similar situation again.
Jay-Z initially denied the incident and pleaded not guilty when a grand jury returned the indictment. Jay-Z and his lawyers contended he was nowhere around Rivera during the incident and they had witnesses and videotape evidence from the club that showed Jay-Z’s whereabouts during the disturbance. Nevertheless, he later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that resulted in a sentence of three years probation. In 2000, Jay-Z released The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, which was originally intended to become a compilation album for Roc-A-Fella artists but somehow turned into a Jay-Z album. The album helped to introduce newcomer producers The Neptunes, Just Blaze, Kanye West and Bink, which have all gone on to achieve notable success. This is also the first album where Jay-Z utilizes a more soulful sound than his previous albums. The Dynasty sold over two million units in the U.S. alone.
2001–02: Feud with Nas, The Blueprint and The Blueprint2
In 2001, Jay-Z spoke out against Prodigy after he took an issue with a Jay-Z line from “Money, Cash, Hoes” that he felt were subliminal shots at Mobb Deep and referenced Mobb Deep’s beef with Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, and Death Row Records. He later performed the song “Takeover“, at Summer Jam 2001, which initially attacked Prodigy and revealed photos of Prodigy dressed like Michael Jackson. A line at the end of “Takeover” referenced Nas, who criticized him on “We Will Survive”. Nas responded with a diss track called “Ether” and almost instantly, Jay-Z added a verse to “Takeover” which dissed Nas and would start a feud between the two rappers. Jay-Z later released his sixth studio album The Blueprint which was later considered by many to be one of hip hop’s “classic” albums, receiving the coveted 5 mic review from The Source magazine. Released during the wake of September 11 attacks, the album managed to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, selling more than 427,000 units; the album’s success was overshadowed by the tragic event. The Blueprint has been certified 2x Platinum in the United States. The Blueprint was applauded for its production and the balance of “mainstream” and “hardcore” rap, receiving recognition from both audiences. The Blueprint was written in only two days. Eminem was the only guest rapper on the album, producing and rapping on the song “Renegade”. Four of the thirteen tracks on the album were produced by Kanye West and represents one of West’s first major breaks in the industry. The Blueprint includes the popular songs “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)“, “Girls, Girls, Girls“, “Jigga That Nigga” and “Song Cry“.
Jay-Z’s next solo album was 2002′s The Blueprint2: The Gift & the Curse, a double-album. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number one, selling over 3 million units in the U.S. alone and surpassing The Blueprint. It was later reissued in a single-disc version, The Blueprint 2.1, which retained half of the tracks from the original. The album spawned two massive hit singles, “Excuse Me Miss” and “’03 Bonnie & Clyde“, which featured Jay-Z’s future wife Beyoncé Knowles. “Guns & Roses”, a track featuring rock musician Lenny Kravitz, and “Hovi Baby” were two successful radio singles as well. The album also contained the tracks “A Dream”, featuring Faith Evans and the late The Notorious B.I.G.; and “The Bounce”, featuring Kanye West. The Blueprint 2.1 featured tracks that do not appear on The Blueprint2: The Gift & the Curse, such as “Stop”, “La La La (Excuse Me Again)”, “What They Gonna Do, Part II” and “Beware” produced by and featuring Panjabi MC.
2003–05: The Black Album and Collision Course
After returning from a trip in the south of France, Jay-Z announced work on his 8th studio album The Black Album at the opening of the first the 40/40 Club. He worked with several producers including Just Blaze, The Neptunes, Kanye West, Timbaland, Eminem, DJ Quik, 9th Wonder and Rick Rubin. Notable songs on the album included “What More Can I Say“, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder“, “Change Clothes“, and “99 Problems“. The Black Album has sold 3 million copies in the US.
On November 25, 2003, Jay-Z held a concert at Madison Square Garden, which would later be the focus of his film Fade to Black. This concert was his “retirement party”. All proceeds went to charity. Other performers included collaborators like The Roots (in the form of his backing band), Missy Elliott, Memphis Bleek, Beanie Siegel, Freeway, Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, Twista, Ghostface Killah, Foxy Brown, Pharrell and R. Kelly with special appearances by Voletta Wallace and Afeni Shakur, the mothers of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur respectively. While Jay-Z had attested to a retirement from making new studio albums, various side projects and appearances soon followed. Included in these were a greatest hits record, mash-up projects and concert appearances with R. Kelly and Linkin Park.
In 2004 Jay-Z collaborated with rock group Linkin Park. The project was named Collision Course, and contained a six track EP, as well as a making of DVD. Some of the mash ups tracks were entitled “Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Lying From You”, “Jigga What/Faint”, and “Numb/Encore”. “Numb/Encore” went on to win a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and was performed with Linkin Park live at the Grammys, with a special appearance by Paul McCartney, who added verses from the song “Yesterday“. The EP sold over 1 million copies in the US. Jay-Z was the executive producer of Fort Minor‘s debut album The Rising Tied. Mike Shinoda got together with Jay-Z and Linkin Park bandmate Brad Delson to discuss what tracks should make the album.
Later in 2004, Jay-Z was named president of Def Jam Records, which led to Jay-Z, Dash and Biggs selling their remaining interests in Roc-A-Fella Records and Jay-Z taking control of both of the companies. Reportedly this major industry move was prompted by disagreements between Jay-Z and Dash as to what direction Roc-A-Fella could undertake. The publicized split between Jay-Z, Dash and Biggs led to the former partners sending jabs at each other in interviews.
2005–07: “I Declare War”, Kingdom Come and American Gangster
Jay-Z at a concert in 2006.
On October 27, 2005, Jay-Z headlined New York’s Power 105.1 annual concert, Powerhouse. The concert was entitled the “I Declare War” concert leading to intense speculation in the weeks preceding the event on whom exactly Jay-Z would declare war. As he had previously “declared war” on other artists taking lyrical shots at him at other events, many believed that the Powerhouse show would represent an all-out assault by Jay-Z upon his rivals. The theme of the concert was Jay-Z’s position as President and CEO of Def Jam, complete with an on-stage mock-up of the Oval Office. Many artists made appearances such as the old roster of Roc-A-Fella records artists, as well as Ne-Yo, Teairra Mari, T.I., Young Jeezy, Akon, Kanye West, Paul Wall, The LOX, and Diddy.
At the conclusion of the concert, Jay-Z put many arguments to rest to the surprise of hip hop fans. The most significant development in this show was closure to the infamous hip hop rivalry between Jay-Z and Nas. The two former rivals shook hands and shared the stage together to perform Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents” blended with Nas’s song “The World is Yours”.
Jay-Z returned with his comeback album on November 21, 2006 titled Kingdom Come. Jay-Z’s comeback single, “Show Me What You Got“, was leaked on the Internet in early October 2006, scheduled to be released later on that month, received heavy air-play after its leak, causing the FBI to step in and investigate. Jay-Z worked with video director Hype Williams, and the single’s video was directed by F. Gary Gray. The album features producers such as Just Blaze, Pharrell, Kanye West, Dr. Dre and Coldplay‘s Chris Martin (single entitled “Beach Chair“). The first week saw 680,000 sales of the CD, which Entertainment Weekly said was “the highest single-week total in Jay’s decade long career”. This album has sold 2 million copies in the US.
Jay-Z released his tenth album entitled American Gangster on November 6, 2007. After viewing the Ridley Scott film of the same name, he was heavily inspired to create a new “concept” album that depicts his experiences as a street-hustler. The album is not the film’s official soundtrack, although it was distributed by Def Jam. Jay-Z’s American Gangster depicts his life in correlation to the movie American Gangster. At the start of the album’s first single, “Blue Magic”, Jay-Z offers a dealer’s manifesto while making references to political figures of the late 1980s with the lyric: “Blame Reagan for making me to into a monster, blame Oliver North and Iran-Contra, I ran contraband that they sponsored, before this rhymin’ stuff we was in concert.” Also notable about the “Blue Magic” music video was Jay-Z flashing 500 euro notes, in what Harvard Business School professor Rawi Abdelal has called a “turning point in American pop culture’s response to globalization.” The album has sold 1 million copies in the US. On December 24, 2007, Jay-Z stated that he would not remain at Def Jam as the company’s President, and vacated the position effective of January 1, 2008.
2008–present: Glastonbury, new record deal, The Blueprint 3, Watch the Throne and follow-up
It was announced on February 2, 2008 that Jay-Z would headline the 2008 Glastonbury Festival, becoming the first major hip hop artist to headline the British festival. Tickets sold out before the opening of the festival. One of the more outspoken critics of his selection was Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame, who criticized the organizers of the festival for scheduling Jay-Z as a headliner for the traditionally guitar-driven festival, stating “I’m sorry, but Jay-Z? No chance. Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curve ball in on a Sunday night you go ‘Kylie Minogue?’ I don’t know about it. But I’m not having hip hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong.”
Controversy ensued in the months leading up to the event with artists, promoters and fans weighing in both for and against. Jay-Z responded to this saying, “We don’t play guitars, Noel, but hip hop has put in its work like any other form of music. This headline show is just a natural progression. Rap music is still evolving. We have to respect each other’s genre of music and move forward.” In response to Gallagher’s criticism, Jay-Z opened his Glastonbury set with a tongue-in-cheek cover of Oasis’s iconic song “Wonderwall“. His Glastonbury performance was heralded as a successful response to pre-festival criticism.
Jay-Z during his Glastonbury performance
He also headlined many other summer festivals in 2008, including Roskilde Festival in Denmark, Hove Festival in Norway and O2 Wireless Festival in London. During Kanye West’s August 6, 2008 concert at Madison Square Garden, Jay-Z came out to perform a new song and he and Kanye proclaimed that it was to be on The Blueprint 3. On May 21, 2009, Jay-Z announced he would be parting ways with Def Jam, and had struck a multi-million dollar deal to sign with Live Nation, with whom he would start his Roc Nation imprint which would serve as a record label, talent/management agency, and music publishing company and also partnered up with production team Stargate to start a record label called StarRoc. Jay-Z’s 11th studio album The Blueprint 3 was originally to be released on September 11, 2009 but was instead released in North America on September 8, 2009 due to increasing anticipation. Its international release followed on September 14. It is his 11th album to reach No.1 on the Billboard 200 and has surpassed Elvis Presley’s previous record, making him the current record holder.
On October 9, 2009, Jay-Z kicked off his tour for The Blueprint 3, during which he supported his new album in North America. In a Shave Magazine review of his performance at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Jake Tomlinson expressed that “It was the type of smooth performance you would expect from the hip-hop superstar.” The review gave this performance 4 stars. His North American tour continued until November 22, 2009. At his concert on November 8, 2009 at UCLA‘s Pauley Pavilion, Rihanna joined him on stage and performed “Hard” for the very first time, then performed “Run This Town” with Jay-Z. Among his success, Jay-Z has ventured into producing Broadway shows. Along with Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, Jay-Z helped produced the play Fela!, a musical celebrating the work of the late Nigerian star Fela Kuti. Jay-Z said he was inspired by the power of Kuti’s work and his life story, which resulted in his interest to help produce the musical. Fela! is a story about an African pioneer and political activist who made his first moves on the scene during the 1970s.
On January 23, 2010, Jay-Z released a track, “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)“, with Rihanna, and U2‘s Bono and The Edge, as well as performing it at the Hope For Haiti Now telethon. In June 2010, Eminem and Jay-Z announced they would perform together in a pair of concerts in Detroit and New York. The event was dubbed The Home & Home Tour. The first two concerts rapidly sold out, prompting the scheduling of an additional show at each venue. Jay-Z was the supporting act for U2 on the Australian and New Zealand leg of their U2 360° Tour, beginning in Auckland, New Zealand in November 2010, followed by Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth in December. He also appeared on stage during U2 performances of “Sunday Bloody Sunday“, and in Auckland also joined the band for a performance of “Scarlet“, singing some lines of his song, “History”. In August 2010, it was revealed that Jay-Z and Kanye West would be collaborating on a five-track EP entitled Watch the Throne. Although, it was later revealed by West that the project had become a full-length LP. Recording sessions for the album took place at various recording locations and began in November 2010. The first single released for the project was “H•A•M“. The track was co-produced by Lex Luger and West himself. The track ended up being on the deluxe edition of the album. The follow-up to that was the second single “Otis“, which premiered on Funkmaster Flex‘s Hot 97 radio show, and was later released to the iTunes Store eleven days later. The song’s existence, along with several other tracks from the album, was confirmed during a listening session hosted by Jay-Z. The album was first released on the iTunes Store, five days prior to it being released in physical format, a strategy Jay-Z later said was used to block an internet leak. It debuted at #1 on the iTunes Store in 23 countries. It also broke Coldplay‘s record for most albums sold in one week on the online retailer, selling 290,000 copies on iTunes alone. It held that record, until Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter IV was released twenty-one days later, selling only 10,000 copies more. It debuted on the US Billboard 200 chart at #1, selling 436,000 copies in its first week. The album received generally positive reviews. Jay-Z and West later gave a surprise performance of “Otis” at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. In April 2011, Jay-Z launched a blog-like, lifestyle website by the name of Life + Times. It covers everything from music, to fashion, to technology, to sports. The site is curated based on Jay-Z’s interests, and he himself works with a small staff to produce every single piece of content.
Jay-Z collaborated with M.I.A. on the single “XXXO“, which achieved a fair level of success and went on to become remixed by several producers worldwide.
On September 23, 2010, Q-Tip confirmed working on Jay-Z’s follow up album to The Blueprint 3, saying the album was to hit stores by spring 2011. The album has not yet been released; it has been confirmed 3 songs have been recorded and one of which features Frank Ocean.
Jay-Z that states his earliest exposure to music was through his parents’ record collection, which was mostly of soul artists such as Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. He says “I grew up around music, listening to all types of people… I’m into music that has soul in it, whether it be rap, R&B, pop music, whatever. As long as I can feel their soul through the wax, that’s what I really listen to.” He often uses excerpts from these artists as samples in his work, particularly in the Kanye West-productions included on The Blueprint.
Royce da 5’9″ and Fredro Starr of Onyx both describe Jay-Z’s emphasis on flow in the book How to Rap – Starr says that Jay-Z is “a master of the flow—he can flow fast, he can flow slow”. The book describes how Jay-Z uses ‘rests’ to provide structure to a verse and how he uses ‘partial linking’ to add more rhymes to a verse. Jay-Z’s early style is described by Vibe as “a distinctly Das EFX-type, stiggety style” on his 12″ single “Can’t Get With That”, referring to the fast rhythms and vocal delivery of the group Das EFX. He is also known to write lyrics in his head, as described by Pusha T of Clipse in How to Rap, a style popular with many MCs such as The Notorious B.I.G., Everlast, Bobby Creekwater and Guerilla Black. Shock G of Digital Underground describes Jay-Z’s performance style, saying he “rarely breaks a sweat, and instead uses smoothness and clever wordplay to keep the audience interested and entertained”.
Jay-Z has also established himself as an entrepreneur like his fellow hip hop moguls and friends, Russell Simmons, Dr. Dre and Sean “Diddy” Combs, who also have business holdings such as record companies and clothing lines. In an interview, he stated that “my brands are an extension of me. They’re close to me. It’s not like running GM, where there’s no emotional attachment.” He is the founder of the urban clothing brand Rocawear along with Damon Dash. Rocawear has clothing lines and accessories for men, women and children. The line was taken over by Jay-Z in early 2006 following a falling out with Dash. In March 2007, Jay-Z sold the rights to the Rocawear brand to Iconix Brand Group, for $204 million. Jay-Z will retain his stake in the company and will continue to oversee the marketing, licensing and product development. He also co-owns the 40/40 Club, an upscale sports bar that started in New York City and has since expanded to Atlantic City and Chicago. In 2008, the 40/40 club in Las Vegas was closed down and bought back by the hotel after attendance steadily declined. Future plans will see 40/40 Clubs in Tokyo and Singapore. In 2005, Jay-Z became an investor in Carol’s Daughter, a line of beauty products, including products for hair, skin, and hands.
Jay-Z serves as co-brand director for Budweiser Select and collaborates with the company on strategic marketing programs and creative ad development. He provides direction on brand programs and ads that appear on TV, radio, print, and high-profile events. He is also yet to expand his 40/40 Club sports bar in as many as 20 airports, as he makes deals with his business partners, Juan and Desiree Perez. He is a part-owner of the New Jersey Nets NBA team paying a reported $4.5 million for his share. He encouraged the team’s relocation to Brooklyn‘s Barclays Center in the 2012-2013 season, at which point the team will take on its new name the “Brooklyn Nets”. In October 2005, he was reported in English media as considering buying a stake of Arsenal F.C., an English soccer team. He has also invested in a real estate development venture called J Hotels which recently acquired a $66 million mid-block parcel in Chelsea, New York. Jay-Z and his partners are contemplating constructing a high-end hotel or an art gallery building on the newly acquired site which has the potential to go up about twelve stories. Through his company Gain Global Investments Network LLC, had an interest estimated between 2 and 7% in the Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) consortium which in January 2010 was awarded a contract to operate a 4,500 slot machine racino at the Aqueduct Race Track. Jay-Z became interested in the project after New York Governor David Paterson who awarded the contract said there had to be an affirmative action component to the ownership. Jay-Z initially approached Steve Wynn who was also bidding on the contract. On March 9, 2010, Jay-Z and Flake withdrew from the project and Paterson recused himself from further involvement.
On November 16, 2010, Jay-Z published a memoir entitled Decoded.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé performing “Crazy in Love” on November 15, 2009.
Relationship with Beyoncé
Jay-Z is married to American R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles. In 2002, Jay-Z and Knowles collaborated for the song “’03 Bonnie & Clyde“. Jay-Z also appeared on Knowles’ hit single “Crazy In Love” and as well as “That’s How You Like It” from her debut Dangerously in Love. On her second album, B’Day, he made appearances on the 2006 hits, “Déjà Vu” and “Upgrade U“. In the video for the latter song, she comically imitates his appearance. The couple generally avoid discussing their relationship. Knowles has stated that she believes that not publicly discussing their relationship has helped them. Jay-Z said in a People article, “We don’t play with our relationship.” They kept a low profile while dating, and married quietly in April 2008. It became a matter of public record on April 22, 2008, but Knowles did not publicly debut her $5 million Lorraine Schwartz-designed wedding ring until the Fashion Rocks concert on September 5, 2008 in New York City. Knowles and Jay-Z were listed as the most powerful couple for TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2006. In January 2009, Forbes ranked them as Hollywood’s top-earning couple, with a combined total of $162 million. They also made it to the top of the list the following year, with a combined total of $122 million between June 2008 and June 2009. At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé revealed that she was pregnant with their first child and on January 7, 2012, she gave birth to their daughter, named Blue Ivy Carter, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. On January 9, 2012, Jay-Z released “Glory”, a song dedicated to their child, on his social website LifeandTimes.com. The song detailed the couple’s pregnancy struggles, including a miscarriage Knowles suffered before becoming pregnant with their daughter. Because Blue’s cries were included at the end of the song and she was officially credited on the song as “B.I.C”, at 2 days old she became the youngest person ever to appear on a Billboard chart when “Glory” debuted on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at Number 74.
During his retirement, Jay-Z also became involved in philanthropic activity. On August 9, 2006, he met with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan at the organization’s headquarters in New York City. The rapper pledged to use his upcoming world tour to raise awareness of and combat global water shortage. Already on the look-out for a way to, in his own words, “become helpful”, he had been made aware of this issue during a visit to Africa. The effort took place in partnership with the UN, as well as MTV, which produced a documentary entitled Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life, first airing in November 2006. Along with Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jay-Z pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross‘ relief effort after Hurricane Katrina. Jay-Z stated his support for Kanye West after the latter’s outburst against President Bush during a live Katrina charity telethon. He also addressed the issue of the Katrina disaster, and the government’s response, in his song “Minority Report“.
Jay-Z got actively involved in politics during the 2008 presidential campaign, where he supported increased voter participation and helped send voters to polling stations. He was an early supporter for the candidacy of Illinois senator and subsequent U.S. president Barack Obama, performing for free in voter-drive concerts financed by the Democrats’ campaign. He also became acquainted with Obama himself, who stated “Every time I talk to Jay-Z, who is a brilliant talent and a good guy, I enjoy how he thinks. That’s somebody who is going to start branching out and can help shape attitudes in a real positive way.” During the 2010 mid-term elections‘ campaign, Jay-Z appeared, along with other artists, in an ad prepared by the HeadCount organization, urging voters, and especially younger ones, to register and vote
Maggie Lena Walker (July 15, 1864(4-7)-December 15, 1934) was an African American teacher and businesswoman. Walker was the first African American female bank president and the first woman to charter a bank in the United States. As a leader, she achieved successes with the vision to make tangible improvements in the way of life for African Americans and women. Disabled by paralysis and limited to a wheelchair later in life, Walker also became an example for people with disabilities.
Walker’s restored and furnished home in the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia has been designated a National Historic Site, operated by the National Park Service.
According to biographical material she supplied, Walker was born as Maggie Lena Mitchell in Richmond, Virginia to William Mitchell and Elizabeth Draper Mitchell 2 years and 2 months after the end of the American Civil War. Census information, as well as a diary passage saying that she was four years old on her mother’s wedding on May 1868, set the date back to 1864 or 1865. Her mother was a former slave and assistant cook in the Church Hill mansion of Elizabeth Van Lew, who had been a spy in the Confederate capital city of Richmond for the Union during the War, and was later postmistress for Richmond. Her father was a butler and writer.
The Mitchell family moved to their own home on College Alley off of Broad Street nearby Ms. Van Lew’s home where Maggie and her brother Johnnie were raised. The house was near the First African Baptist Church which, like many black churches at the time, was an economic, political, and social center for the local black community. After the untimely death of William Mitchell, Maggie’s mother supported her family by working as a laundress. Young Maggie attended the newly-formed Richmond Public Schools and helped her mother by delivering the clean clothes.
Teacher, mother, leader
She taught grade school for three years until, in 1886, when she married Armstead Walker Jr., a brick contractor. Her husband earned a good living, and she was able to leave teaching to take care of her family and her work with the Independent Order of St. Luke. Maggie and Armstead Walker Jr. had sons, Russell and Melvin, and purchased a home in 1904.
When she was fourteen years old, young Maggie joined the local council of the Independent Order of St. Luke. This fraternal burial society, established in 1867 in Baltimore, Maryland, administered to the sick and aged, promoted humanitarian causes and encouraged individual self-help and integrity. She served in numerous capacities of increasing responsibility for the Order, from that of a delegate to the biannual convention to the top leadership position of Right Worthy Grand Secretary in 1899, a position she held until her death.
In 1902, she established a newspaper for the organization, The St. Luke Herald. Shortly thereafter, she chartered the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. Mrs. Walker served as the bank’s first president, which earned her the recognition of being the first woman to charter a bank in the United States. Later she agreed to serve as chairman of the board of directors when the bank merged with two other Richmond banks to become The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, which grew to serve generations of Richmonders as an African-American owned institution.
Tragedy struck in 1915 when her husband was accidentally killed, leaving Mrs. Walker to manage a large household. Her work and investments kept the family comfortably situated. When her sons married they brought their wives to 110½ East Leigh Street, her home in Richmond’s Jackson Ward district, the center of Richmond’s African American business and social life at the turn of the century.
Ms. Walker received an honorary Masters degree from Virginia Union University in 1923, and was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2002
Persevering despite disability
Mrs. Walker’s health gradually declined, and by 1928 she was using a wheelchair due to paralysis. Despite her physical limitations, she remained actively committed to her life’s work including serving as leader of the Independent Order of St. Luke and chairman of the bank until her death on December 15, 1934. She is buried in Richmond’s Evergreen Cemetery.
In Maggie’s honor Richmond Public Schools built a large brick high school adjacent to Virginia Union University. Maggie L. Walker High School was one of two schools in the area for black students, during the period of racial segregation in schools. The other was Armstrong High School. After generations of students spent their high school years there, it was totally refurbished in the late 20th century to become the regional Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies.
The National Park Service operates the Maggie L. Walker Historical Site at the former Jackson Ward home. In 1978 the house was designated a National Historic Site and was opened as a museum in 1985. The site states that it “commemorates the life of a progressive and talented African American woman. She achieved success in the world of business and finance as the first woman in the United States to charter and serve as president of a bank, despite the many adversities. The site includes a visitor center detailing her life and the Jackson Ward community in which she lived and worked and her residence of thirty years.The house is restored to its 1930′s appearance with original Walker family pieces.” 
Madam C.J. Walker (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919), born Sarah Breedlove, was an African-American businesswoman, hair care entrepreneur and philanthropist. She made her fortune by developing and marketing a hugely successful line of beauty and hair products for black women under the company she founded, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.
Madam C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove, on December 23, 1867 in Delta, Louisiana to Owen and Minerva Breedlove. She was one of six children; she had a sister Louvenia and four brothers: Alexander, James, Solomon, and Owen, Jr. Her parents and elder siblings were slaves on Madison Parish plantation owned by Robert W. Burney . She was the first child in her family born into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Her mother died, possibly from cholera, in 1872. Her father remarried and died shortly afterward.
Madam C. J. Walker moved in with her older sister, and brother-in-law, Willie Powell. At the age of 14, she married Moses McWilliams to escape Powell’s abuse. Three years later her daughter, Lelia McWilliams (A’Lelia Walker) was born. When Sarah was 20, her husband died. Lelia was just 2 years old. Shortly afterward she moved to St. Louis where three of her brothers, who were barbers, lived. She also joined St. Paul AME Church. Her second marriage to John Davis ended in 1903, married a third time in 1906 to newspaper advertising salesman, Charles Joseph Walker.
Like many women of her era, Sarah experienced hair loss. Because most Americans lacked indoor plumbing, central heating and electricity, they bathed and washed their hair infrequently. The result was scalp disease. Sarah experimented with home remedies and products already on the market until she finally developed her own shampoo and an ointment that contained sulfur to make her scalp healthier for hair growth.
Soon Sarah, now known as Madam C. J. Walker, was selling her products throughout the United States. While her daughter Lelia (later known as A’Lelia Walker) ran a mail order business from Denver, Madam Walker and her husband traveled throughout the southern and eastern states. They settled in Pittsburgh in 1908 and opened Lelia College to train “hair culturists.” In 1910 Walker moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where she established her headquarters and built a factory.
She began to teach and train other black women in order to help them build their own businesses. She also gave other lectures on political, economic and social issues at conventions sponsored by powerful black institutions. After the East St. Louis Race Riot, she joined leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in their efforts to support legislation to make lynching a federal crime. In 1918 at the biennial convention of the National Association Of Colored Woman (NACW) she was acknowledged for making the largest contribution to save the Anacostia (Washington, DC) house of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. She continued to donate money throughout her career to the NAACP, the YMCA, and to black schools, organizations, individuals, orphanages, and retirement homes.
The grave of Madam C. J. Walker
In 1917, she moved to her Irvington-on-Hudson, New York estate, Villa Lewaro, which had been designed by Vertner Tandy, the first licensed black architect in New York State and a founding member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. The house cost $250,000 to build. Madam C.J. Walker died at Villa Lewaro on Sunday, May 25, 1919 from complications of hypertension. She was 51. At her death she was considered to be the wealthiest African-American woman in America and known to be the first self-made female American millionaire. Her daughter, A’Lelia Walker, became the president of the Madam C.J Walker Manufacturing Company.
Madam Walker was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in 1992, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, in Seneca Falls, New York, the National Cosmetology Hall of Fame and the National Direct Sales Hall of Fame. On January 28, 1998, the USPS, as part of its Black Heritage Series, issued the Madam C.J. Walker Commemorative stamp. On March 16, 2010, Congressman Charles Rangel introduced HJ81, a Congressional House Joint Resolution, honoring Madam C. J. Walker. In December 2010, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a bill designating the block of 136th Street between Malcolm X Boulevard (Lenox Avenue) and Seventh Avenue as Madam Walker and A’Lelia Walker Place.
While according to Walker’s New York Times obituary, “she said herself two years ago [in 1917] that she was not yet a millionaire, but hoped to be some time,” the Guinness Book of Records cites Walker as the first woman to become a millionaire by her own achievements.