Rep. Weaver’s Black History Month Spotlight

For the third installment of my #BlackHistoryMonth spotlight, I am highlighting Annie Turnbo Malone. Annie was born in 1869 in Metropolis, but after both of her parents died when she was young, Annie was orphaned and sent to live with her sister in Peoria. Annie graduated from Peoria Central High School, and with her love of chemistry, became a pioneer in the hair product industry.

Annie Malone is believed to be the first black female millionaire, and she launched her own hair and beauty school in St. Louis in 1902. Thousands of African American women benefited from the cosmetics school, which was called Poro College. In the coming years, Annie’s business and marketing prowess expanded her operations to Chicago and around the world.

With her increasing fortune, Annie Malone donated large amounts of money to various philanthropic interests around St. Louis and institutions such as Howard University. She supported charities all over the U.S. and funded college scholarships for generations. The St. Louis Orphans Home was renamed the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center in 1946 and remains in place as a pillar of the community today.

For more information on Annie Turnbo Malone, please follow these links:

Peoria famous Black residents: Annie Malone, Preston Jackson and more (

Molly Crusen Bishop: Annie Turnbo Malone, early entrepreneur – The Peorian

Annie Malone and Madam C.J. Walker: Pioneers of the African American Beauty Industry | National Museum of African American History and Culture (