Annie Turnbo Malone
Annie Malone was born in 1869, in Metropolis, Illinois, to formerly enslaved parents and orphaned at a young age. From an early age, Malone understood that for African American women, appearance and grooming represented more than their personal style. It could also indicate a woman’s class and social standing. She realized that improving hair health could also have a positive effect on the lives of African American’s. This motivation, along with her early passion for styling her sisters’ hair, inspired Malone to develop products to help women adapt to a society that judged them based on how they met the American standard of beauty (which excluded the natural appearance of most African Americans).
Malone not only faced the challenges of being a black woman in a segregated society but a businesswoman in a sexist society. Undeterred, she began experimenting with chemistry and established a successful business after developing a line of products that were advertised to help improve scalp health and promote hair growth. Some of these products included scalp preparations and her famous “Hair Grower.” After early success in Illinois, she moved to Missouri in 1902 and founded Poro College Company which became a very successful training ground for many women and men.
Black History is American History