Madam CJ Walker and WERD Radio museum preserve two distinct legacies in Sweet Auburn

The Madam C.J. Walker and WERD Museum in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood in Atlanta. (Courtesy of Ricci deForest)

In the heart of downtown Atlanta, a former beauty salon sat with closed doors for years before one visionary newcomer recognized its enormous significance. The Madam CJ Walker beauty shop in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood represents a piece of the legacy of an entrepreneurial powerhouse. Its namesake helped to shape better financial futures for generations to come. It’s now preserved as a museum honoring her as well as the history of WERD radio, the first black-owned radio station in America, that operated just above the salon.

Ricci deForest is a beauty industry professional and founder of the Madam CJ Walker museum. In this interview, Ricci deForest speaks with “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes about the museum’s legacy.

“I’m thinking, all these young kids, that know all this stuff, need to know W E R D. This should be common knowledge,” says Ricci deForest.

More information about the Madam C.J. Walker and WERD Museum is available here.