Upon her retirement Walker built an Italianate villa at Irvington-on-the-Hudson, beside the homes of tycoons such as John D. An illiterate, impoverished daughter of freed slaves built the largest black-owned business in America, made a fortune, and touched thousands with her philanthropy. Born to recently freed slaves in 1867, Louisiana native Sarah Breedlove Walker transcended poverty, illiteracy, and prejudice to become one of the most important businesswomen in America.
Walker eagerly took up philanthropy, contributing to African American orphanages, old-age homes, schools, colleges, and a new civil rights organization, the NAACP. When most banks closed at 3pm, Giannini kept his banks open until nine or ten at night for workers. Amadeo Peter Giannini has been called "America's banker." His Italian father traveled home from the California gold fields, then brought a Genoese bride back to San Jose in mid-1869, via the brand-new transcontinental railroad.
After a disastrous earthquake and subsequent fires levelled much of the city in 1906, Giannini created new confidence. In 1928, Giannini put his banks into a giant holding company he called Transamerica Corporation, reflecting his new ambition. Orphaned and widowed by the age of twenty, Breedlove left the uneasy Reconstruction environment of the deep South to join her brothers in St. She learned valuable lessons at the elbow of a black role model, Annie Turnbo Malone, who sold her shampoos and hair-pressing irons to crowds in St.

He built a vast Western banking empire, fueling California's growth, and created a national system of branch banks to serve ordinary people. His mother was also an adventurous soul, leaving her family and homeland with a man she'd known for only six weeks.
Angered by the era's typical banking practices -- making loans to and servicing only wealthy clients -- he founded the Bank of Italy in San Francisco in October 1904 as an institution for the "little fellows" -- the hardworking immigrants other banks would not serve.
He set up a temporary bank immediately, collecting deposits, making loans, and proclaiming to all that San Francisco would rise from the ashes.
In 1930, he formed the Bank of America, which would eventually become the largest in the United States. Louis, Missouri, where she worked for years as a washerwoman to support her daughter, Lelia. Their son Amadeo, born in San Jose in May, 1870, would take his own risks in the world of banking. He offered those ignored customers savings accounts and loans, judging them not by how much money they already had, but by their characters.
He based his business on openness and trust, making his reputation by helping the city rebuild. As a measure of its success, it withstood the Great Depression, funding large industrial and agricultural interests as well as California's burgeoning movie industry and even the Golden Gate Bridge.

Malone hired Breedlove as a commission agent and sent the former washerwoman to Denver, Colorado in July 1905. Though she sold popular products, created job opportunities for thousands, and generously shared her wealth, Walker's greatest accomplishment may have been her inspirational story, which made her a lasting role model for future generations. Then he expanded the Bank of Italy across California, breaking with an American tradition of independent local banks by providing his egalitarian banking services to the "little fellows" in the Yugolsavian, Russian, Mexican, Portuguese, Chinese, Greek, and other immigrant communities.
When Giannini died on June 3, 1949, at age 79, hundreds of ordinary people showed up for his funeral. One of the largest employers of African American women, she carefully screened, groomed, and trained a 3,000-person strong sales force that was motivated by working on commission. Washington called for black people to lift themselves up by developing skills, working hard, and emphasizing good character. In addition to door-to-door sales, Walker sold via mail order, and personally demonstrated her products in churches, schools, and other gathering places. She took lessons in public speaking and penmanship, and cultivated a striking persona, in fine clothing and a chauffeur-driven electric carriage.

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