A’Lelia Walker, The Kelis Of The Harlem Renaissance

The daughter of Madam C.J. Walker, A’Lelia Walker was the Kelis of the Harlem Renaissance. The arts patron, who loved expensive cars and jewelry.

Her legendary “The Dark Tower,” salons (where the County Cullen Library now sits on 136th Street at Lenox Avenue, around the corner from the Shomburg Center for Research), included the sparkling literati of the thriving 1920s black arts movement, including gays and lesbians, wealthy whites who trekked to Harlem. (At one party, the heiress served pigs’ feet to white folks and caviar to black folks.) Langston Hughes called the glamorous, 6-foot beauty the “joy goddess.”


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