“When my book, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker, was published almost two decades ago, I hoped there would be other scholars who would expand on what I had written. I intentionally included voluminous endnotes with citations and primary sources as breadcrumbs for those who wished to learn more and who had the curiosity to dig more deeply. Freeman has exceeded my expectation by exploring new dimensions of Walker as a philanthropist and as an educator. His work opens the doors for a more inclusive and more meaningful analysis so that black philanthropy is a feature rather than a footnote of American philanthropy.”

A’Lelia Bundles
Award-winning journalist, news producer, and Madam C. J. Walker’s great-great granddaughter

Author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker

Tyrone McKinley Freeman is an award-winning scholar and teacher who serves as Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies and Director of Undergraduate Programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. His research focuses on the history of African American philanthropy, philanthropy in communities of color, the history of American philanthropy, and philanthropy and fundraising in higher education. His newest book, Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: Black Women’s Philanthropy during Jim Crow, examines African American women’s history of charitable giving, activism, education, and social service provision through the life and example of Madam C.J. Walker, the early twentieth century black philanthropist and entrepreneur.

His research has appeared in O: The Oprah Magazine, USA Today, TIME, Newsweek, NewsOne, Blavity, The Conversation, Black Perspectives, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and the Stanford Social Innovations Review. He is co-author of Race, Gender and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations (2011 Palgrave MacMillan). Follow him @mckinleytyrone

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Book Trailer

NARRATED BY TYRONE MCKINLEY FREEMAN

Madam C. J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving tells the story of the origins and evolution of one woman’s generosity, but it was (and is) not her story alone. It is also the story of a people and how their generosity helped them navigate and ultimately overcome powerful and externally imposed constraints. This book  provides a window into the evolution of black women’s philanthropy during the critical turn-of-the-century period, which sets the stage for the coming civil-rights movement and provides the historical grounding for giving by African Americans today.

Tyrone Freeman provides commentary on the Netflix series ‘Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker’ as part of a panel of distinguished historians, sponsored by the Association of Black Women Historians.

“Struggle and Progress: Philanthropic Leadership on Issues of Race and Equity.” Author Tyrone Freeman interviews philanthropic leader Susan batten about the importance of Black-Led Social Change in the world of philanthropy.

How to Live a Courageously Generous Life according to Madam C. J. Walker.” A lecture delivered at the Madam Walker Theater.

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Madam C.J. Walker

GOSPEL OF GIVING

Synopsis

Madam C. J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving and Black Women’s Philanthropy during Jim Crow presents the first comprehensive story of Walker’s philanthropic giving arguing that she was a significant philanthropist who challenged Jim Crow and serves as a foremother of African American philanthropy today. Born Sarah Breedlove (1867-1919) to formerly enslaved parents on a cotton plantation during Reconstruction, Madam C. J. Walker became a beauty culture entrepreneur known as America’s “first self-made female millionaire.”

A great African American and American philanthropist who practiced a distinctive racialized and gendered approach to giving that relieved immediate felt-needs in her community and thwarted the systemic oppression of the Jim Crow system in America, Walker’s “embodied” philosophy of philanthropy as a “gospel of giving” started in her twenties when she was a poor, suffering migrant in St. Louis, and expanded as she gradually acquired wealth and other resources over time.  Ultimately, Walker worked to give to black people—particularly black women—some of what Jim Crow had taken away from them. In the process, she became a significant American philanthropist and a foremother of black philanthropy today.