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A'Lelia Walker: Harlem's Joy

Linda Villarosa | 3/22/2014, 11:11 p.m.
The daughter of the Madam C.J. Walker, A’Lelia Walker was the bad girl of the Harlem.
Photo courtesy of PBS.

The daughter of the Madam C.J. Walker, A’Lelia Walker was the bad girl of the Harlem.

Renaissance. The arts patron, who lived in an elegant townhouse, loved expensive cars and jewelry. Her legendary salons at the “Dark Tower” included the sparkling literati of the 1920s black arts movement, including many gays and lesbians, as well as wealthy whites who trekked uptown. (At one party, the heiress served pigs' feet to white folks and caviar to black folks.) Langston Hughes called the glamorous, 6-foot beauty the "joy goddess."

Her granddaughter, and namesake A’Lelia Bundles keeps her spirit and legacy alive. The journalist and president of the Walker Family Archives has written extensively about her great-grandmother, the first black woman millionaire. Bundles is now at work on a biography of her party-girl grandmother.