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The Black Rose

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  395 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Born to former slaves on a Louisiana plantation in 1867, Madam C.J. Walker rose from poverty and indignity to become America's first black female millionaire, the head of a hugely successful beauty company, and a leading philanthropist in African American causes. Renowned author Alex Haley became fascinated by the story of this extraordinary heroine, and before his death i ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 2nd 2001 by One World/Ballantine (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,276)
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Nov 23, 2008 Rocio rated it it was amazing
One of the best and most influential books that i have ever read. I was tearing up with in the first couple of pages. I was a better person after having read this book.
Aug 16, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
3.5 stars... Overall, this was a fascinating story about the first black female millionaire. It is awe-inspiring to see how Sarah Breedlove started with absolutely nothing as the daughter of former slaves and became not only incredibly wealthy, but an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people. The book was well-written, but I had to knock it down half a star for stretches in the book that plodded on without making much impact to the story. These parts of the book made it difficult to finish ...more
Tracey Y Smith
Sep 07, 2008 Tracey Y Smith rated it liked it
I am a big fan of historical fiction, but I think this was a very sanitized, whitewashed version of Madame C.J. Walker's life. Since the millionaire kept no diary and no one is alive that knew her, there's little insight into her personality and character. We can only assume her charactaristics based on what she accomplished. In looking at her background, this lady came up in extremely rough circumstances, so I think there would be more of a toughness and edge to her than presented in Ms. Due's ...more
Oct 11, 2012 Susan rated it liked it
Inspiring story...Unfortunately, I lost interest toward the end. And I always wonder about the genre of historical fiction, especially in the case of someone not generally well-known. It seems to me that the fiction has such potential for becoming the fact. For example, in the case of Madame Walker, I learned in a quick wikipedia search, that she had several brothers. The book only mentions one brother. Not that the number of siblings is extremely important, I guess. But, still....

However, I am
Tim Childree
Dec 30, 2015 Tim Childree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible novelization of an incredible woman's life. I have never been overly fond of historical fiction and biographical works (due to an over-saturation of required reading as a teenager), but I couldn't wait to get back to The Black Rose every time I had to put it down.

I cannot recommend the book highly enough, especially if, like me, your upbringing neglected to mention the amazing, hard-working entrepreneur who was Madam C.J. Walker.
Mary Robinette Kowal
Nov 06, 2015 Mary Robinette Kowal rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
A beautiful look at the life of one of the most influential African-American women. Completely fascinating.
Kim Jacobs
Mar 06, 2012 Kim Jacobs rated it really liked it
This was a great historical fiction book based on the life of Madam C.J. Walker (Sarah), the first black female millionaire. The story takes you through the life of Sarah from a child to an adult and all of the struggles she faces while starting her own hair care business. It was amazing the problems Sarah faced and how she was able to overcome the obstacles and continue. I love the fact that although she strived to do well for herself she was always concerned with others as well.
Kia Taylor
Aug 16, 2015 Kia Taylor rated it really liked it
I enjoy historical fiction novels and this one is no exception. I read this years ago and enjoyed it then as well. Picked it up a while ago because I felt like reading a "real book" and it is one of the few that I have left. I think I enjoyed it a little more the first time around, but it was still a good read. If you are a big Tananarive Due fan like I am, it is a complete departure from her suspense/thriller books. After having read Joplin's Ghost a few times though, it was neat to read her br ...more
Feb 29, 2016 Ecia rated it really liked it
Tedious but good!
Jul 29, 2016 Rusty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I have loved reading biographies since I was a teenager and I found this one was especially interesting. First, I had never heard of Madam C.J. Walker, her life and her company. She was driven by her heart which told her that Negros are just as intelligent as white people. Her life, her company and her passion was to help the women of her race and their families live a better life made so much sense to her during a time when the whites believed that black meant poor, uninteresting and of lesser ...more
Jul 25, 2013 Latanya rated it it was amazing
I started this book on Sunday night and finished it Wednesday! Even though I knew the heroin died at the end, I still cried! I never thought I would enjoy reading historical fiction so much! I loved this book!
Mar 04, 2014 Frances rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read and even though it is fiction it was very informative!
Nov 01, 2010 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction is my very most favorite genre and this book is a great addition to it. I love stories of little known people (at least to me) in times that I'm not real familiar with....this takes place in the late 1800's - early 1900's just after the Civil War. Sarah's story is a true one with the research done by Alex Haley - makes it even better!

Sarah, as a small child and in growing into an adult, has such curiousity and passion for life even at its darkest. She never gives up and works
Julius Lollis
Jun 10, 2016 Julius Lollis rated it it was amazing
One of the best historical fiction books I have ever read. Yes, there are portions of the book that are long but this book is a great book about the first black millionaire. Once I started reading this book it was hard to put it down. Madam C.J. Walker's story is a great inspiration that will wake up your soul to want to do better for yourself. It's not how you start in life but how you finish.
Diana Huguley
Sep 23, 2016 Diana Huguley rated it it was amazing
Although I knew of Madam C. J. Walker, and I never knew anything about her life. Excellent book, hard to put down. An emotional roller coaster!
Courtney Walker
Feb 21, 2014 Courtney Walker rated it it was amazing
It was really interesting because it was talking about slaves and how it was back then in the old days and how things had happen
Dec 14, 2014 Lydia rated it it was amazing
An outstanding work of nonfiction. I highly recommend it.
Alvin Walker
Feb 21, 2015 Alvin Walker rated it it was amazing
Great book about the life of Madam CJ Walker.
H. Dair Brown
Sep 10, 2012 H. Dair Brown rated it it was ok
I'm grateful to the author for bringing Madam C.J. Walker's story to a wider audience, but the writing just did not engage me. It was a relief to put this book behind me. That being said, lots of other friends whose opinions I really respect loved it. Having already read the story of Walker's life in nonfiction form, I just didn't feel like this book had much to offer. The characters felt flat to me and the amazing arc of Walker's life didn't translate into a page turner somehow.
Anne Gray
Dec 01, 2012 Anne Gray rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history

Both fascinating and well-written, I think this story of a woman's rise from being the child of sharecropper parents who died when she was young to being the amazingly successful (and rich) head of a network of salon and beauty schools based on hair products, styling tools and techniques she invented, taught, and distributed should be required reading for every high school student and adult in the country.
Mar 15, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it
Wow! An incredible woman.

Must read for every woman, for every African-American women, and everyone who believes in the law of attraction. (don't think it was intentional, but she understood so much.)

She worked not only for herself, but when she could she offered opportunity to others to be independent and thereby free.
Debra Odom
Sep 24, 2013 Debra Odom rated it really liked it
Due is a favorite author of mine. This story was powerful and even though this book is a historical fiction book, I do believe that Due more than adequately captured the spirit of Madam C. J. Walker. Madam Walker was an extraordinary woman; however, her life's story is amazing but filled with much pain and heartache.
Jul 19, 2016 Bethanyweed rated it really liked it
I thought this was a GREAT book. A biography about the first black woman millionaire (born just 2 years after the Civil War-amazing!) Great read, reads like a novel and I found myself getting more and more worked up in behalf of the characters. A few slightly slow parts, but overall, a great book.
Jul 26, 2008 Mel rated it liked it
Historical fiction based on the first black female millionaire, Sarah Breedlove Walker. She created hair products for black women.
Her story is amazing and though the author does take some liberties, she explains where and how and it doesn't take away from the story.
Sep 13, 2013 Michele rated it really liked it
I didn't realize the main character in this book was real until I finished the story. Everyone's heard that Oprah Winfrey is a female self-made millionaire, but I'd never heard of Madame C.J. Walker as being the first, especially in 1915.
Argnese Julmist
Oct 30, 2008 Argnese Julmist rated it liked it
The author really put into realization the story of a remarkable woman. It was inspiring and a bit sad. My only complaint is that there was an abundance of issues through the book that perhaps should have been shortened or excluded.
Oct 27, 2010 Tania rated it really liked it
Fascinating story. First 3/4 was hard to put down. I'd actually be interested in reading one more bio on the same lady just to read one more opinion. This was written like a novel--which I liked.
Feb 16, 2010 Kristy rated it really liked it
I have to admit that I didn't know much about C.J. Walker, the first black female millionaire. Even though this was a work of fiction, Ms. Due stayed true to the real story. Very good.
Jan 29, 2011 Jayna rated it liked it
A fascinating novel chronicling the extraordinary life of a black woman at the turn of the 20th century who begins a hair-product business and becomes a millionaire. Based on true events!
Mar 26, 2011 Cindy rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this very readable novelized story. of Madam C.J. Walker. Written partly from reasearch done by Alex Haley just before his death.
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Tananarive Due is a novelist and a creative writing teacher who has worked as a journalist. She won the American Book Award in 2002 for her novel The Living Blood.
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