• Gaines' Mill battlefield -- Watt House area

    Richmond

    National Battlefield Park Virginia

Issue 5: Fall 2000 page 2

Maggie Walker Site Represented at Two Events

For two days during this year's State Fair of Virginia, guest participants from the Commonwealth's eight regions took center stage in the Virginia Showcase Building, representing the best Virginia has to offer. Veronica Harvey, assisted by Monamma AL-Ghuiyy, coordinated and made arrangements to showcase Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site and Richmond National Battlefield Park on September 30th and October 1st. Volunteers Willette Johnson, Diann Foster, Jim and Queen Bell and Rob Hunter helped greet the 1,600 guests and families infatuated with the two parks' array of interpretive stories and activities.

The following weekend, the Annual Second Street Festival, "A Celebration with African American Culture and Businesses," returned for the 12th time to the Jackson Ward National Historic Landmark District in downtown Richmond. Celia Suggs served as coordinator, with combined efforts coming from the Maggie L. Walker Historical Foundation, volunteers and staff from both of Richmond's National Parks.

The Second Street Festival commemorates an era when Second Street was the heart and soul of Richmond's African American community. Also referred to as the "Deuce," Second Street was a place to see and a place to go when one wanted to be seen. Residents of Jackson Ward could select from any number of consumer goods and services that were available, such as banks and insurance companies, like that of Maggie Walker's St. Luke's Organization. Furniture stores, groceries, lawyers, photographers, hotels, restaurants and theaters, made it unnecessary for residents to go much further than Second Street to conduct business.

The Second Street Festival venerated the life and livelihood of the African American community's "golden years from 1920 through the 1940's." Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site's presence helped the community and its legacy come alive. The park staffed two stations at the Festival, an information booth manned by park volunteers and an education center. At least 650 visitors toured the park site, viewing the film, "The Maggie L. Walker Story," and taking walking tours through her restored family home. Special thanks go out to all of the park staff and volunteers who continue to make this event a yearly success.

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Did You Know?

Civil War era photograph of Thadeus Lowe's balloon Intrepid being inflated on the battlefield.

The battle of Gaines' Mill outside of Richmond, Virginia, was the first Civil War battle where both sides got help from above--in the form of observation balloons.