Annie Minerva Turnbo Pope Malone

Shh..! Quiet as kept...

Many of us have learned about the great inventor, businesswoman and pioneer, Madame C.J. Walker. We were taught many wonderful and honorable things about her and she has earned much respect for her contributions to business, science and vocational opportunities, as well as, her economic and cultural contributions to her community and the legacy of her ancestors.

 But, Quiet as kept, Madame C.J. Walker had a mentor and teacher who remained obscure and lost in history for most of us….  Until today

  Annie Minerva Turnbo Pope Malone

August 9, 1869  –  May 10, 1957


Annie Malone was born in Metropolis, Illinois.  From her humble beginnings as an orphan raised by her sister, Annie Malone became one of America’s first self-made Millionairess.

Yes, Before Madame C.J. Walker!

Annie taught Madame C.J Walker and thousands more at Poro Colleges around the country.

She began developing safer and more effective hair care methods and treatments for women of color in the 1890’s. By the turn of the century, she had developed a network of “Poro Agents” who went door-to-door marketing hair care and beauty supplies she had created.

 In 1917, Annie Malone founded the first Poro College in St. Louis, Missouri. By the 1920’s she had built a financial empire valued at over $15 million dollars. This included dozens of Poro Colleges where she empowered people with personal development and training in the business of black cosmetology, manufacturing, and public etiquette.  At her zenith, she had established over 100 beauty salons & supply stores nationwide, built manufacturing and distribution centers, and employed more than 10,000 door-to-door agents world wide. 

 Madame C.J. Walker was one of

those “Poro agents” who went on to

build on Ms. Annie’s shoulders.

 A beauty industry pioneer,

Annie Malone, the social activist and

philanthropist, donated vast amounts

of wealth to social and educational

institutions. Among the most noted

was her $25,000.00 donation to

Howard University. At that time,

it was the largest gift ever donated to

a historically black institution.

 Never forgetting her past, in 1922 Annie Malone made her first $10,000.00 contribution to the St. Louis Colored Orphans' Home, where she served as president from 1919 to 1943. In 1946, it was renamed the Annie Malone Children’s Home in honor of her.



Home                      Top of Page                       Back