Maggie L. Walker, business pioneer
Maggie L. Walker
On this date in 1867, Maggie Lena Walker was born. She was a noted African-American businesswoman, civics leader, and the first Black female bank president in America.
Walker spent her childhood at the Van Lew Mansion in Richmond, VA, where her mother, a former slave, worked as a cook’s helper. Miss Van Lew, an abolitionist, made sure that all of her servants received a good education. It was here that Walker began to learn the value and importance of education. Like many educated Black women during that time, Walker's first contribution was in the field of education. She taught in the public school system after her graduation from Armstrong Normal School in Richmond. She left teaching after her marriage and soon saw the limited availability of jobs for Black women.
It was Walker's belief that Black American women had an instrumental part to play in the economic and political success of the Black American community. In 1903, she founded the Saint Luke Penny Saving Bank in Richmond, (her hometown). She retired for health reasons in 1933 and died a year later. The bank survived the depression and remains solvent to this day.
Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York
Walker, Maggie L.