Before today, I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know who Maggie L. Walker was. Now, thanks to the unveiling of a new statue in Richmond honoring her, I have a much better idea. First, here’s some background on Maggie Walker, followed by video of the statue’s unveiling (“in downtown Richmond at Broad and Adams streets, which is a gateway to the Jackson Ward neighborhood where many of her life accomplishments occurred”) below. Now THESE are the kinds of statues and THIS is the kind of “historical heritage” (as Corey Stewart likes to say) that Virginia should be honoring, not a bunch of people who fought for their “right” to buy and sell (aka, enslave) other human beings.
In spite of humble beginnings in post-Civil War Richmond, Virginia, Maggie Lena Walker achieved national prominence as a businesswoman and community leader. Her business acumen, personality, and lifelong commitment to a beneficial burial society fueled her climb to success. She was the first African American woman in the United States to found a bank. As a leader her successes and vision offered tangible improvements in the way of life for African Americans and women.
…In 1903 she founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. Mrs. Walker served as the bank’s first president, which earned her the recognition of being the first African American woman to charter a bank in the United States. Later she agreed to serve as chairman of the board of directors when the bank merged with two other Richmond banks to become The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company. Until 2009, the bank thrived as the oldest continually African American-operated bank in the United States.
…As an advocate of African American women’s rights, she served on the board of trustees for several women’s groups. Among them were the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and the Virginia Industrial School for Girls. To assist race relations she helped to organize and served locally as vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was a member of the national NAACP board. She also served as a member of the Virginia Interracial Commission.