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Annie Malone: The Forgotten Millionairess Who Revolutionized Black Beauty

Annie Turnbo Malone

Annie Turnbo Malone was an inventor, self-made millionaire, philanthropist, and overall champion for woman empowerment. She defied odds and redefined success carving her name in history as a pioneer in the Black beauty industry. 

Nine PBS: Annie Malone episode

Malone faced hardship early becoming an orphan at a young age. She overcame her childhood challenges by creating a product curated for Black women’s hair. She experimented with hair care recipes in her kitchen when she created the formulation of her “Wonderful Hair Grower” products. This product became a hit. 

After the success of this product, she launched her own company named Poro. Poro was a revolutionary line of hair products and scalp treatments that focused on healthy hair growth and maintenance.

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Annie was passionate about selling her products and empowering women. In 1902, she established Poro College, the first licensed cosmetology school for Black women in the U.S. Students that were successful at Poro College were trained to sell and use Poro products as “Poro agents”. (A well-known Poro agent and mentee of Malone was Madam C.J. Walker). Poro College became extremely successful creating a platform for economic independence and social mobility within the Black community.

By the 1920s, Malone became one of the nation’s first Black female millionaires. Utilizing her wealth for good, she became a generous philanthropist, who supported orphanages, educational institutions, and Black businesses. 

Annie Malone’s achievements shattered racial and gender barriers, paving the way for countless Black entrepreneurs who followed in her footsteps.

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Remember one person can truly make a difference.

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Written with lots of care, 

Kaylannk

Your Internet BFF

Sources Used To Write This Post:

  1. National Museum of African American History and Culture
  2. BlackPast – Annie Malone
  3. Annie Malone Children & Family Service Center
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