My great-grandmother, A’Lelia Walker–whom Langston Hughes called the “Joy Goddess of Harlem”–loved flowers. Dahlias. Gladiolas. Roses. Orchids. Nothing pleased her more than for her friends to fill her home with flowers on her birthday, June 6th, or any other special occasion for that matter.
She had everything else–houses, diamonds, furs, cars–plus great friends, a gregarious spirit and a love of life. Well, almost everything, but you’ll have to wait for my new book, Joy Goddess, to learn the rest of the story!
In fact, I’ve been working so hard on the book, that I’d actually forgotten today was her birthday until my good friend, Janet Sims-Wood, posted a story on Facebook noting that today also is the birthday of Portia Washington Pittman, Booker T. Washington’s only daughter. Heavens, I thought, when I read that. Both of these daughters of larger than life figures not only shared the pressure and expectations of others, but also a birthday! That gives me even more to ponder as I write about how A’Lelia Walker handled being Madam C. J. Walker’s daughter.
In honor of the 126th year of A’Lelia Walker’s birth, I’m posting a gallery of photos–most of which have never been published before–on Facebook. I looked in my archives this morning and pulled out the original invitation to the Dark Tower, her Harlem Renaissance salon; the registration for her 1927 Lincoln and several photos from her personal scrapbook.
If you’re on Facebook, visit our “Madam Walker and A’Lelia Walker Family Archives” and “Madam C. J. Walker Biography” pages to see a gallery of images from my personal collection. If you’d like to join my personal Facebook page, you’ll find the link at www.aleliabundles.com. For more information about Madam C. J. Walker, visit us at www.madamcjwalker.com