Spotlight on National Treasures: Villa Lewaro

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Kathy Dixon, president of the National Organization of Minority Architects

As Walker descendant A’Lelia Bundles eloquently put it, “Villa Lewaro is one of the few remaining tangible symbols of the astonishing progress made by the first generation after Emancipation.” So we’d be remiss in a week of celebrating Madam C.J. Walker if we didn’t dig into the physical embodiment of her success -- her home, the historic Villa Lewaro.

To learn more about the estate, we turned to Kathy Dixon, president of the National Organization of Minority Architects as well as a licensed architect with more than 20 years of experience, for her thoughts on Lewaro’s significance. After all, Walker herself wanted the estate “left to some cause that will be beneficial to the race -- a sort of monument.” So we asked Ms. Dixon: Does this vision ring true today? Here’s what she had to say.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.

 

Spotlight on National Treasures: Villa Lewaro

Left: A portrait of Madam Walker; Right: A'lelia Bundles
Left: A portrait of Madam Walker; Right: A'Lelia Bundles, Walker's great-great-granddaughter.

Written by A’Lelia Bundles

Every time I walk through the doors of Villa Lewaro -- the mansion my great-great-grandmother, Madam C. J. Walker, called her “dream of dreams” -- I always take a moment to imagine the ancestors and the magic they must have felt in these rooms. From the columns of its majestic portico to the balustrades of its grand terrace, the original stucco facade sparkled with marble dust and glistening grains of white sand when the washerwoman-turned-millionaire took possession in May 1918.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

“Be Relentless in Your Dreams”: DooBop Founder Jodie Patterson on Madam C.J. Walker

Posted on: October 21st, 2014 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Spotlight on National Treasures: Villa Lewaro

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Jodie Patterson, co-founder and chief creative officer for DooBop.com

Written by Jessica Pumphrey, Associate Manager, Public Affairs

Moments like this come when you least expect them -- when you’re so moved to want to live more intentionally, to follow your passions and fearlessly go after that ‘thing’ you know you were always meant to do but never found the courage enough to carry out. This is just one way I was inspired by my conversation with Jodie Patterson, co-founder and chief creative officer for DooBop.com, the first online seller of beauty products geared towards women of color.

As I write this, I am listening to “SHE” by Alice Smith -- allowing lyrics like, “She had a power that they tried to tame, couldn’t tame her, tried her everyday to take it away,” to further stir the excitement of this blog post connecting Madam C.J. Walker’s legacy to the revered "beauty gladiator" (as referred to by Fast Company) that is Jodie Patterson today.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

My Full Circle Moment with Madam C.J. Walker’s Legacy

Posted on: October 20th, 2014 by Guest Writer No Comments

 

Spotlight on National Treasures: Villa Lewaro

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Left: Demetria Irwin; Right: The National Trust hosted several influential writers and bloggers from the New York City area in August 2014 to tour historic Villa Lewaro.

Written by Demetria Irwin

Black History Month was always an exciting time for me when I was in elementary school. As the child and grandchild of people who spoke extensively to me about contemporary and historical figures in the African diaspora, I was always eager to share my home-grown knowledge with classmates and teachers.

In fourth grade at (the now-closed) St. Scholastica Elementary School in Detroit, I submitted a four-panel cartoon for my Black History month assignment from my teacher. The first panel was a drawing I made of Madam Walker on her knees, head wrapped in a scarf, washing clothing in a bucket. Panel two was of Madam Walker putting together different concoctions in her home to help with hair growth/health. Panel three was her going door to door selling her wares, and panel four was my earnest attempt to draw that iconic photograph of Madam Walker in the driver’s seat of that fancy early 20th-century car (see the photo below).... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

The Next Chapter for Villa Lewaro, Madam C.J. Walker’s “Dream of Dreams”

Posted on: October 19th, 2014 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Spotlight on National Treasures: Villa Lewaro

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Guests admire the murals and other intricate design on the ceiling in the dining room at Villa Lewaro.

Written by Brent Leggs, Senior Field Officer, Preservation Division

Imagine spending the night at Villa Lewaro, the estate of business pioneer Madam C. J. Walker, reopened as a luxurious bed and breakfast.

Imagine attending a holiday party hosted by the estate’s future owners.

Imagine going on a date there for an intimate jazz performance.

What if you could take a private tour of the site, followed by a high-end spa experience? Enjoy an extended sabbatical at the exclusive property with other entrepreneurs and innovators? Or host a formal wedding or company retreat there?

These are just a few of the concepts for reusing one of the premiere landmarks in African-American and women’s history, and the moment is now to bring the ideas to life.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.