Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: The AME Church’s Role in Her Life and Legacy

You may have heard of Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919), the Black millionaire entrepreneur who built a cosmetics business at the height of Jim Crow segregation. But did you know she was a woman of faith? The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church played a transformative role in her life story and success. Please join us for a conversation between Rev. Mark Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church, and Dr. Tyrone McKinley Freeman, author of the new book Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: Black Women’s Philanthropy during Jim Crow, about how faith and the AME Church changed her life and continues to shape generosity by African Americans today.

About the author:

Tyrone McKinley Freeman is an award-winning scholar and teacher who serves as Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies and Director of Undergraduate Programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Previously, he was a professional fundraiser for social services, community development, and higher education organizations. He was also Associate Director of The Fund Raising School where he trained nonprofit leaders in the United States, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

His research focuses on the history of African American philanthropy, philanthropy in communities of color, the history of American philanthropy, and philanthropy and fundraising in higher education. His latest book is entitled, Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: Black Women’s Philanthropy during Jim Crow, (University of Illinois Press, 2020). It examines African American women’s history of charitable giving, activism, education, and social service provision through the life and example of Madam C.J. Walker, the early twentieth century black philanthropist and entrepreneur.

His work has appeared or been cited in The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, USA Today, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, NewsOne, Blavity, The Conversation, Black Perspectives, Philanthropy Women, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Advancing Philanthropy.

He is co-author of Race, Gender and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations (2011 Palgrave MacMillan). A proud HBCU grad, Tyrone earned a B.A. in English/Liberal Arts from Lincoln University (PA), a M.S. in Adult Education from Indiana University, a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Ball State University, and a Ph.D. in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University.

About Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler:

An ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Dr. Tyler has extensive expertise in both theological education and pastoral ministry. Since 2008 he has served as senior pastor of the historic Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. He has taught at Payne Theological Seminary and New Brunswick Theological Seminary in addition to Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

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