Converting Madam C.J. Walker's mansion into a think tank

Business mogul Richelieu Dennis is transforming the house into a place to inspire, teach and support a new generation of black women entrepreneurs. ABC News' Kenneth Moton reports.
5:23 | 02/20/19

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Transcript for Converting Madam C.J. Walker's mansion into a think tank
I. Corner of Elizabeth Arden Estee Lauder or even Coco Chanel there was madame CJ walker she built an empire. They became America's first self made that woman millionaire. This morning in the latest installment of our Black History Month series. We took a step back into the past because Walker's legacy is about to have an even bigger impact on the future so many black women opt for Newark's. It is a marvel this three story twentieth century flee shall manage and thirty miles outside of New York City it was designed. Built and paid for by the first woman millionaire in the US. Madame CJ walker so these are things that give me really nice memories from my childhood. Polluter walker bundles is Walker's great great granddaughter. She wanted it to be a place that would inspire. A little more than 100 years ago a black woman opening bill -- to the world. Named for her daughter Lilja walker Robinson this 20000 square foot home part of the legacy left behind by walker. Born Sarah breedlove to former slaves and 1867. In Louisiana. She was just another single mother struggling. And she was surrounded by women who were supporting her she knew that she needed to turn around. And give back as well. Walker an entrepreneur who were a philanthropist and a political activists at empire built on hair. Like hear her beauty products many stormed the store shelves today sweeping the nation and this home became a training ground for walkers cells agents and a meeting place for those looking for social change including WEB du bois in links to use. She wanted to have conversations about. What could be done to improve the rights. Of African Americans. Walker died in 1991. Year after the house was completed. Designated a national historic landmark in 1976. And a private residence for the last thirty years. Until now when you look at this place. What you envision fort. I mean you know I I envision a place where when you walk through that door. Yeah by the inspiration mobile Russa Lou Dennis the founder of new voices foundation. Is the new owner boom Lauro which will soon BF retained for black women entrepreneurs. We need to have a place. Where we can come and learn we haven't had a concentrated intellectual effort. Focused on the issues that women of color face when trying to build their businesses. And entrepreneur himself Dennis originally from Liberia the owner of essence magazine. He and his family built their fortune I'm beauty products. In the early ninety's launching sundown brands which includes the popular she more store products. Black women and undervalued underestimated. You want to bring the attention. Where it should have been furlong cotton. For you. It takes it back to your mop up. My mother was an inspirational figure my mother was the one who is. There. Who is giving up everything that she. Patent could have to raise us and to get this business off the ground Dennis is now building on the vision of four per who once said in 1914. I am endeavoring to provide employment for hundreds of women of my race. Black women of the facts is growing group of entrepreneurs in the US the national women's business council reports there more than one point five million businesses. Owned by them who's counting the side apostles. Who's counting the to a three side hustles right that's onto partnership we're trying to show. How you can sustain them really have impact and make that impact be measurable. Access the capital a support system and expertise to some of the difficulties for black women trying to start their own business this year of entrepreneurship. Has crept in because you need to solidify income you need to solidify something. Two used to it to protect your family and to protect your children and so to risk that and needs this good paying jobs ago. Do something is it the becomes harder Dennis advisory to entrepreneurs step out of your comfort zone. Ask for help and don't worry about what others think don't let the current situations. Impact. The futures rose. In this home where it's easy to feel the spirit of walker her great great granddaughter says this next chapter for Villa morrow would have been exactly what. Walker won it I think she hoped that this house would still be standing. And that would be a gathering place. I don't know that she could have imagined. The amazing. Things that are getting ready to happen and. I heard she cared it was such an honor to speak with miss bundles Andrus who Dennis who wants to get this big tank. Off the ground as soon as possible he says the got to build the program the curriculum. And to get below laurel ready for the masses lastly ask them as a so are you to have this open what within five years he's like oh yeah my busy mind wouldn't be right handle anything more so you definitely want to get this off the ground us in this. Hostile act is fabulous and next to Nancy. Eight episodes not set for release and yet something reports yeah Octavia Spencer LeBron James and I'm project can we see it.

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