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Beauty Barons and Bar Graphs

Teaching Bar Graphs Through Madam CJ Walker and Annie Turnbo Malone

For African American women, hair has always been closely tied to identity, economics, and politics. Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam C.J. Walker both recognized the need for black women to have healthy options when caring for their hair and their successful businesses not only revolutionized black hair care but also allowed for them to become leaders in the fight for equality. While they both enjoyed extreme wealth as a result of their tireless dedication, their careers followed different trajectories. This playlist has been assembled as a way to use the lesser explored topics from black history to teach a specific math skill set. Through these resources, students will not only learn about these two trailblazers, but will use data they gather about their earnings, to learn how to create bar graphs.

Meet the First Self-Made Female Millionaire | Smithsonian

When Sarah Breedlove suffered a bout of hair loss, she couldn’t have known this would be the catalyst for a million dollar idea that would revolutionize the hair care industry for a long-neglected population of African American women. This video does a great job of illustrating the moment this fiercely smart businesswoman conceived her million dollar idea. Not only will students learn about her career but they’ll also better understand how she used her wealth to contribute to her community, fighting back against racism through her relationship with the NAACP and her financial backing of their social justice campaigns.

Entrepreneurs: Madam C.J. Walker | Newsela

If you’d prefer to assign an article for your students to learn more about Walker’s success story, share this Newsela article. You can choose from different text levels to find one suitable for your classroom.

Black History Mini Docs – Annie Malone | LiveAt5Tube

Madam C.J. Walker may have had a wildly successful career in the hair care industry but some believe she has Annie Turnbo Malone to thank for that. Meet Annie Turnbo-Malone, the woman whose success in the industry preceded Walker’s and who was her first employer in the hair care field. Was Walker really America’s first black female millionaire? It’s time to find out!

Annie Turnbo Malone | The State Historical Society of Missouri

This article explains the many hardships Malone faced as one of the most successful black businesswomen of the time. From prejudice to divorce, this brilliant woman didn’t have it easy but managed to make a life for herself during a time when opportunities were limited for people like her.

A Tale of Two Millionaires

This infographic details the net worth and other financial highlights in the careers of both entrepreneurs discussed in this playlist. See how much they were worth in their time periods and how much they’d be worth now when recalculated for inflation.

Math Jams: Bar Graphs

Time to tie in some math resources that will help students to combine the data presented in the resources above to create their own bar graphs. This interactive can serve as a review if you’ve already covered the basics or it can introduce your students to a new way of representing data sets.

Double Bar Graphs

In creating their own bar graphs, students may choose to convert the data into a double bar graph. Although this resource is listed as being for high school, we think it’s simple enough for younger students to understand as well.

Make Your Own Digital Bar Graph | Math Is Fun

Invite your students to create their own visual representations of the data presented in the “Tale of 2 Millionaires” assignment. They can choose how they’d like to display key data points and use this resource to create colorful graphs so that you can assess their comprehension.

Extension: Inflation Calculator

Rihanna’s Fenty line of cosmetics saw $100 million in sales within the first 40 days of launching her makeup line, which gained popularity due to its inclusive marketing and variety of makeup shades for women of color. But how much would her endeavor be worth in 1919 dollars? Use this online inflation calculator to find out and create new graphs that depict Rihanna’s earnings.

Eboni Hogan

Content Specialist

Eboni has extensive experience in curriculum development, with a focus on culturally-responsive and arts-based approaches. Having spent years creating academic content and providing professional development to teachers, she now curates themed playlists meant to provide educators with valuable, time-saving resources.

Common Core Standards

3.RI.3 Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

3.RI.9 Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

3.MD.3 Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step how many more.

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