An honorary street naming will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 18 at the corner of State and Adams Streets to honor Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone, largely regarded as the first African American female millionaire. The location was chosen due to its proximity to Ms. Malone’s former Peoria home.
Speakers at the event will include Mayor Rita Ali, First District Council Member Denise Jackson, Pam Adams, and James Agbara Bryson, relative of Ms. Malone and author of The Hidden Story of Annie Turnbo Malone: The First Black Female Millionaire. Additional speakers will include John Morris, President and CEO of Peoria Riverfront Museum, and Everley Davis, Assistant Curator and Community Engagement Coordinator at Peoria Riverfront Museum. The Peoria Riverfront Museum’s exhibit, "Life and Legacy of Annie Malone", is currently on display.
Born on August 9, 1869, Ms. Malone moved to Peoria Illinois as a teenager. She attended classes at Peoria High School, but health problems forced her to withdraw. She began practicing hairdressing with her sister and, using her knowledge of chemistry, she started experimenting and developing her beauty products. She moved to St. Louis in 1902 and this would prove to be the most influential and productive time of her life. It was here where she would expand her business into a storefront, broaden her marketing efforts through advertising and press events, and enhance her sales force by recruiting employees and establishing a training program for her staff. In 1918, she established Poro College, named after one of her best-known products, and, on the campus, opened a school, manufacturing plant, retail store, cafeteria, residential facilities, a gymnasium, bakery, and a chapel. This would serve as a popular community hub for the African American residents of the area. In 1924, Malone’s net worth was $14 million dollars. Wanting to share her wealth by helping others, she made donations to the YMCA, Howard University College of Medicine, and the St. Louis Orphans Home, which was later renamed Annie Malone Children and Family Services Center and is located at 2612 Annie Malone Drive in St. Louis. For the last 113 years, a parade has been held in her name on May Day in St. Louis.
A video of the event will be available on the City of Peoria YouTube page.