Just in time for the estate’s 100th anniversary, New Voices Foundation, which was founded by ESSENCE Ventures Chair Richelieu Dennis, has acquired the one-time home of Madam C.J. Walker, known as the first Black woman to become a self-made millionaire in the U.S. The Villa Lewaro estate will be used as a “learning institute, or think tank, to foster entrepreneurship for present and future generations,” according to Dennis.
The 28,000-square-foot property is located in Irvington, New York, and boasts 34 rooms. Walker lived in the estate, which in 1976 became a National Historic Landmark, from 1918 to 1919. Named after her daughter, A’Lelia Walker Robinson, the home was the first to be owned by a person of color in Irvington, and welcomed historic guests such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and James Weldon Johnson.