1. Madam C.J. Walker, the first Black woman self-made millionaire

"I am not ashamed of my past. I am not ashamed of my humble beginnings. I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory on my own ground. I got my start by giving myself a start." 

2. Oprah Winfrey, the richest African American in the world 

"The true meaning of courage is to be afraid, and then, with your knees knocking and your heart racing, to step out anyway—even when that step makes sense to nobody but you. I know that’s not easy. But making a bold move is the only way to truly advance toward the grandest vision the universe has for you."

3. Ursula Burns, the first African American woman CEO to lead a Fortune 500 Company

"Believe that there are no limitations, no barriers to your success --- you will be empowered and you will achieve."

4. Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African-American woman to own a billion-dollar company

"Discipline is not a dirty word. There is far more freedom and opportunity for creativity and success in enjoying discipline. Years ago someone I very much respect told me the reason they were successful is that they embraced doing what other people resent or are reluctant to do."

5. Cathy Hughes, founder of media company Radio One and the first African American woman to lead a public traded company. 

"Not to let anyone convince you that your dream, your vision to be an entrepreneur is something that you shouldn't do. What often happens is that people who are well meaning, who really care for us are afraid for us and talk us out of it."

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