By Chamika Hawkin
Marjorie Joyner was a beauty salon owner, who changed the game of hair styling when she invented the “permanent wave machine.” More on her discovery later. She graduated A.B. Molar Beauty School in Chicago in 1916, the first African American to achieve this. There she met Madam C. J. Walker. We have heard of Madam C.J. Walker. Did you know that she absconded with the genius of Marjorie “permanent wave machine.” Via contractual shenanigans, Miss Walker kept all royalties to the hugely popular innovative hair styling technique. Marjorie went to work for her and oversaw 200 of Madame Walker’s beauty schools as the national adviser. Marjorie taught some 15,000 stylists over her fifty-year career.
In 1939, she started looking for an easier way for women to curl their hair. Her inspiration came from of all things a pot roast cooking. She experimented with paper pins to quicken preparation time. Marjorie experimented initially with these paper rods and soon designed a table that could be used to curl or straighten hair by wrapping it on rods above the person’s head and then cooking them to set the hair.
She helped write the first cosmetology laws for the state of Illinois and founded a sorority and fraternity, Alpha Chi Pi Omega on October 27, 1945 as well as a national association for Black beauticians. A proud innovator, Marjorie never got the full credit for her enrichment to Black lives.