Black History Heroes: Annie Turnbo Malone: a Philanthropist and Entrepreneur

Annie Turbo Malone (photo via

Before Oprah Winfrey and Madame C.J. Walker, there was Annie Turnbo Malone (aka Annie Minerva Turnbo Pope Malone and Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone), an African American entrepreneur and philanthropist during the early 20th century.

Malone is recorded as the U.S.’s first Black woman millionaire based on reports of $14 million in assets held in 1920 from her beauty and cosmetic enterprises, headquartered in St. Louis and Chicago.

On August 9, 1869, Robert Turnbo and Isabella Cook became parents to Annie in Metropolis, Illinois. Annie attended school in Illinois where she apprentenced with her sister as a hairdresser. By 1889, Malone had developed her own scalp and hair products that she demonstrated and sold from a buggy throughout Illinois.

By 1902, Malone’s business growth led her to St. Louis, Missouri, which at the time held the fourth largest population of African Americans. In St. Louis she copyrighted her Poro brand beauty products. In 1914, in a St. Louis wedding, Malone married the school principal Aaron Eugene Malon.

By 1917, Malone opened the doors of Poro College, a beauty college which was later attended by Madam C.J. Walker. The school reportedly graduated about 75,000 agents world-wide, including the Caribbean. By 1930, the first full year of the Great Depression, Malone had moved from Missouri after divorcing her second husband and settled on Chicago’s South Side.

To read more, go to: Black History Heroes: Annie Turnbo Malone: A Black Philanthropist and Entrepreneur

2 thoughts on “Black History Heroes: Annie Turnbo Malone: a Philanthropist and Entrepreneur”

  1. Thank you for becoming a friend of the Annie Malone Historical Society. Malone was the ORIGINAL FOUNDER of the black hair industry and the first black female millionaire. She created the black hair industry, Madame CJ Walker was one of her agents. She used her services and money to better the lives of many through her generosity and philanthropy by providing opportunities that otherwise would have been impossible. Google Annie Malone or read more of her history at and then share with others.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.