Madame C. J. Walker, named Sarah Breedlove at birth, was born on December 23, 1867, in Delta, Louisiana, the United States, to Owen and Minerva Breedlove, both of whom were emancipated slaves. Sarah, who was their fifth child, was the first in her family to be free-born. The Breedloves worked as sharecroppers on a cotton plantation.
Minerva died in 1874 and Owen passed away the following year, both due to unknown causes, leaving Sarah an orphan at the age of seven. It is believed that her mother succumbed to Cholera during the year 1872, after which Sarah’s father got married for a second time. After her parents' passing, Sarah was sent to live with her sister, Louvinia, and her brother-in-law.