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Black News and News Makers in History: Marjorie Stewart Joyner

Black news from Pasadena - Black News and News Makers in History recognizes Marjorie Stewart Joyner this week in Black historyMarjorie Stewart Joyner had a strong message that she carried throughout her life. Be proud of who you are and treat yourself as if you care. This strong belief in pride led her to being an avid supporter of young men and women throughout her life. It also led her to an invention to help the women who came to see her feel better about themselves.

Marjorie Stewart Joyner, born on October 23, 1896, in Monterey, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Her family relocated to Chicago when she was a child and she studied cosmetology as a teenager there. She became associated with the famous beauty expert Madam C.J. Walker who had been made famous by Josephine Baker's adoption of her products.

Joyner went on to become an inventor and an educator in African-American beauty culture. While a cosmetologist, she was frustrated that the day after having her hair done most women looked like "an accident going someplace to happen." In response she invented a permanent wave machine that would allow a hairdo to stay set for days, if not more. According to Anne MacDonald, "This was a dome-shaped device that applied electrical current to pressed and clamped one-inch sections of hair, creating a hairdo that would last a considerable time."

In 1926, she became the first African-American woman to receive a patent for her invention and this opened the door for many others to follow. Marjorie Joyner never received any money for her invention but she did move up in the business world of beauty.

She became the Director of C.J. Walker's nationwide chain of beauty schools. She also co-founded, with Mary Bethune Mcleod, the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association in 1945.

She was always committed to helping people. During the Depression, she worked for several of the New Deal programs to find housing and work for young African-Americans. She consistently worked to instill pride in the young people she worked with. In pursuit of this goal, she worked for years to raise money for Black colleges and chaired the Bud Billiken Parade, the largest African American parade in the United States, for over fifty years.

She is often called the "Grand Dame of Black Beauty Culture" and the "Godmother of Bethune-Cookman College." Marjorie Stewart Joyner died on December 27, 1994, in Chicago, Illinois.

Excerpt from http://www.anothershadeofcolor.com and http://www.csupomona.edu/~plin/inventors/joyner.html.