Villa Lewaro isn't usually open to the public, but you can still take a virtual tour of this historic property with narration from Madam C.J. Walker's great-great granddaughter, A'Lelia Bundles. The tour includes four interior rooms, terrace, swimming pool, and front of the home.
In celebration of the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Washington Post is highlighting people and events featured in the new museum. In their newest piece, the Post talked to Walker's great-granddaughter, A'Lelia Bundles, about growing up with Walker's legacy.
“It’s admirable and amazing that she became a millionaire just one generation out of slavery and at a time when Jim Crow laws ruled the land,” Bundles says. “But what is more important for me is that she used her wealth and her influence to empower and enrich others by employing thousands of women who otherwise would have been sharecroppers, maids, cooks and laundresses so they could provide opportunities for their children, be leaders in their communities and support their churches and community organizations.”
Read more in Black wealth, racism and the legacy of the legendary Madam C.J. Walker and make sure to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture after it opens on September 24th.
How might a future owner of Madam C. J. Walker’s Villa Lewaro develop a culture-based business to increase public access and benefit? What kinds of financially sustainable and architecturally compatible uses for the mansion could fund its operation, restoration, and maintenance? These questions and more explore creative ways property owners might re-imagine this future memorial. To read the National Trust for Historic Preservation publication entitled Envisioning Villa Lewaro’s Future, please click here.
As we near the end of February, and Black History month, we thought it fitting to share this inspiring piece by A’Lelia Bundles on Madam Walker’s keys to success.
For almost a year, the National Trust has been diligently working to protect and re-imagine new uses for Madam Walker’s estate, Villa Lewaro. Within that work we have come across people from all walks of life, with varied backgrounds and expertise who have been inspired by Madam Walker’s story. To think an African-American woman could beat the tremendous odds against her (segregation, women’s suffrage, etc.) and build a legacy that is still recognized today is unheard of. The more I learn from her the more I believe she had the foresight to know her name would be celebrated long after her time.
More than ever, African-American woman are taking leadership roles in business, philanthropy and other industries. With such progress happening today, it’s hard not to wonder what type of work ethic Madam Walker had when building her own empire. Read about what she considered to be her keys to success and share your own by using the #MadamCJWalker hashtag! We want to hear from you!
Biography.com - Madam C.J. Walker’s Secret’s to Success
Oh, and March is Women’s History Month. Check back to see how we draw connections between Madam Walker and other dynamic women of her time period.
On Friday, the National Trust hosted several influential writers and bloggers from the New York City area to tour historic Villa Lewaro. For many of our guests, Madam Walker’s story had always played a role in their lives. Her legacy helped shape some of their career choices and even their understanding of hard work and perseverance.
It’s no secret that Madam Walker was a pioneer in business and beauty, but she also was committed to preservation. We were delighted to have the writers onsite to walk the halls of the mansion and discuss the intricate design work from her architect, Vertner Tandy. We also talked about potential new uses for the home which the National Trust will unveil in a report coming out this Fall.
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