The aim and purpose of Poro College was to contribute to the economic betterment of “Race Women”.
Malone was committed to community building and social welfare. To that end she built Poro College in 1917, a complex that included her business's office, manufacturing operation, and training center as well as facilities for civic, religious, and social functions. The campus was located in St. Louis's upper-middle-class Black neighborhood and served as a gathering place for the city's African Americans, who were denied access to other entertainment and hospitality venues. The complex, which was valued at more than $1 million, included classrooms, beauty shops, laboratories, an auditorium, conference rooms, a gentlemen's smoking parlor, cafeteria, dining halls, ice cream parlor, bakery, emergency hospital, a theater, gymnasium, chapel, roof garden, general office, shipping department, a manufacturing plant, laundry, seam- stress shop, dormitories, and guests rooms.
Many local and national organizations, including the National Negro Business League, were housed in the facility or used it for business functions. The training center provided cosmetology and sales training for women interested in joining the Poro agent network. It also taught students how to walk, talk, and behave in social situations. During the early 20th century, race improvement and positive self-image were seen as a way to increase social mobility. By teaching deportment, Malone believed she was helping African American women improve their standing in the community. By 1926, the college employed 175 people. Franchised outlets in North and South America, Africa, the Caribbean, Canada, Haiti and the Philippines employed some 75,000 women.
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