American Heroes: Heroes of American Business

Where and when

America is the freest and the most prosperous nation in the history of the world—two facts that are not coincidental. Freedom unleashes the enterprising spirit within human beings, allowing them to create wealth and uplift all.

This webinar took a look at two heroes whose enterprising spirits improved the lives of many for generations to come. Henry Ford’s legacy extends far beyond the automobiles that still bear his name today. As the primary developer of the assembly line, his methods have been used in industries the world over, spreading prosperity to billions. Ford, however, had his faults as well, and they are part of who he was. Madam C.J. Walker lived around the same time as Henry Ford and founded a company in the early 20th century that produced hair products for black women. She became the first female self-made millionaire in America, despite living in a time when her full rights were not secured under the law due to her race and gender. Walker’s company employed and trained thousands of black women to build their own businesses and become financially independent. How did she do it? And how does her experience in business compare with Henry Ford?

In this webinar, Executive Director Jeff Sikkenga discussed Henry Ford and Madam C.J. Walker with Dr. Jennifer Keene, a professor at Chapman University and a member of Ashbrook’s national faculty. Dr. Keene is a nationally-known scholar of 20th century American history.

Jeff and Dr. Keene explored the following documents:

A recording of the webinar is available below: