Celebrate Madam Walker in Indianapolis

As we approach the 100th anniversary and grand reopening of the Walker Theatre, Indianapolis pays tribute to one of its most notable figures. 

At the beginning of the 20th century when entrepreneur and icon Madam C.J. Walker was looking for a city to grow her business of specialty hair care products for African Americans, she looked no further than the Crossroads of America and set up shop in Indianapolis. Walker’s savvy business and leadership skills earned her status as the country’s first self-made female millionaire and transformed the beauty industry forever. The historic Walker Theatre and Madam Walker Legacy Center honor her story. 

As Netflix’s new series chronicles her life, with Octavia Spencer as the lead and LeBron James behind the production, the renovated landmark theatre reopens to the public, and national media attention pays tribute to her legacy, now is the perfect time to explore Walker’s legacy in Indy. 


Madam Walker Legacy Center

Built in 1927, the Madam Walker Legacy Center commemorates Madam C.J. Walker's zeal and drive to success. Orignially built to house her products' manufactuirng, it became much more: a forerunner of today’s shopping malls with a drugstore, a beauty salon, a beauty school, a restaurant, professional offices, a ballroom and a 1500 seat theater. 


“Empowering Women” at the Indianapolis Historical Society

The Indianapolis Historical Society’s richly interactive exhibit, “You Are There: 1915: Madam C.J. Walker, Empowering Women” educates visitors on the early and adult life of Walker, and features a re-creation of her hair care factory once located on 640 N. West St. The exhibit showcases original tins of her product alongside historical pieces from her life. Running through January 23, 2021, it is part of the Indianapolis Bicentennial celebration, in which Walker will be continuously honored and remembered.


Center for Black Literature and Culture at the Indianapolis Central Library

Indy’s grand Central Library shares the story of Walker’s early life, legacy, and impact on our city. Learn more about Indianapolis history, and the impact Walker made, at this fantastic cultural center.


Madam Walker at the Alexander Hotel

Indy’s art-infused Alexander Hotel houses a show-stopping Walker portrait made entirely out of hair combs by local artist Sonya Clark. 


Signature Cocktail at Plat 99

Inspired by Sonya Clarks​​​​​​'s distinct hair comb sculpture in The Alexander, "On My Own Ground" is a signature cocktail at adjacent hotel bar, Plat 99. This cocktail celebrates Madam C.J. Walker for being the first self-made millionairess in the country, and is made with Plantation O.F.T.D., Hotel Tango Lemoncello, demerara, orange, and hot cider.


LouVino 

Stop by LouVino on Mass Ave to experience the Madam C.J. Walker wine flight. Described as “Rich, Tasteful, and bursting with charisma”, this wine trio is sure to please. The flight blends together Brooks ‘Amycas’ White Blend 2017 wine sourced from Oregon, Trimbach Gewürztraminer 2015 from France, and Famille Sadel Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2016 from the Rhone Valley of France. 


Foundry Provisions

Local café and coffee haven Foundry Provisions pays tribute to Walker with a lunch basket in her name that includes a grilled cheese and soup rich in flavor and comfort. 


Madam Walker at Capital Grille

Dine alongside an exquisite portrait of Madam Walker at this elegant downtown steakhouse. Featuring exquisite steaks, a cozy atmosphere, and upscale service, the Capital Grille is a fantastic place to enjoy a meal and view a Madam Walker piece.


Indianapolis Cultural Trail Art Installation: “Talking Wall”, on IUPUI Campus

African American artists Bernard Williams pays tribute to Walker in his outdoor art installation titled Talking Wall. In this piece, a collection of symbols are fused together to tell a story and promote discussion regarding African-American history within Indianapolis. The large fist, inspired by hair combs, speaks to the story of Walker and the fortune and impact she made within Indy.


Sephora at The Fashion Mall

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Walker’s passing, Sephora debuted a revamped Madam CJ Walker hair care line, Beauty Culture. Shop this decadent line of products at The Fashion Mall on Indy’s north side. 

Trip Ideas for Celebrate Madam Walker in Indianapolis


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