Madam C.J. Walker
The beauty and hair pioneer is perhaps the most well-known Black woman to hold a patent. Born Sarah Breedlove, she became the first self-made woman millionaire in America through her hair and beauty company, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. She first created her own line of black hair care products to address her personal hair loss issues and eventually grew it into a national empire with more than 200 beauty schools.
While she, herself, did not patent products, Walker’s company was the holder of several – including one for a metal comb from a man who had supplied combs to Madam Walker during her lifetime.