Annie Malone Historical Society Visits Peoria By Molly Crusen Bishop

Annie Malone Society pic with Molly
L to R: President and Founder of the Annie Malone Historical Society, Linda Nance, Molly Crusen Bishop, and Linda Jones

The Peoria Chapter NSDAR, (National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution) welcomed two very special guests at the Tuesday, March 19th meeting. Linda Nance, Founder and President of the Annie Malone Historical Society, a Nonprofit 501(c) 3 came from St. Louis and Vice President Linda Jones, traveled from Gary, Indiana to give a speech and presentation about the millionaire, philanthropist, and special alumni of Peoria Central High School, Annie Malone.

V.P. Linda Jones took the floor with an introduction, and a wonderful biographic presentational slideshow and speech about Annie’s amazing life with President Linda Jones, adding in fabulous informational facts about Annie throughout in a fluid and flawless give and take. It is easy to see how much they adore and love Annie, and sharing information about her.

Annie Turnbo Malone was born to former slaves in southern Illinois sometime after the end of the Civil War, her birth dates vary. Annie’s parents died when she was young, and she was sent to live with an older sister here in Peoria. Annie was very interested in skin and hair care and loved chemistry. She attended Peoria Central, and although not completing from illness, her love of chemistry led to her dabbling and creating a hair product she called Wonderful Hair Grower, with her sister and an aunt.

Annie changed the face of the hair care industry forever, ultimately establishing a beauty college called Poro College in St. Louis. She ended up employing over 75,000 African American women all over the world, giving them the opportunity to join the middle class. Madame C.J. Walker was one of her protégés. Her company had a net worth of around $14,000,000 in 1923.

Annie was one of the first accredited female African American millionaires and philanthropists, donating millions of dollars to charities and scholarships to uplift her community and employees.

Following the luncheon/tea and presentation both Linda N. and Linda J. and I visited the Proctor Recreation Center, home to Peoria’s African American Hall of Fame Museum. We met with the manager, Jonell Polk McCloud, who gave us a tour, and valuable information. The ladies have plans to create a historic museum house or building in downtown St. Louis, dedicated to the AMHS as well as serving multiple needs of the community, following the spirit of Annie Malone.

Linda Nance, Linda Jones, and the AMHS are committed to sharing the history of Annie M. Turnbo Pope Malone and have a special book, and often travel to give speeches on Annie. You can find more information on the Annie Malone Historical Society Facebook Page and website http://www.anniemalonehistoricalsociety.org