Clock Syringes Beater Soup Bowl

Daily Life

Life in the Walker household blended African American traditions with Victorian customs. The home was always abuzz with casual family gatherings, formal entertaining, or official business meetings.

Each branch of the family had their own wing of the house, but shared communal spaces and family meals in the kitchen. Mrs. Walker entertained leading African American dignitaries in her formal dining room and parlor. The round dining table gave equal status to guests regardless of seat placement. As the Walkers were businesspeople with many professional obligations, Polly Payne undertook most of the culinary and domestic tasks for the family.

Mrs. Walker had a pet German shepherd, “Booker T,” a collie named “Ego,” and a cat to keep her company in her final years. Mrs. Walker’s expression of faith was not limited to her beloved First African Baptist Church.  It filled her home as well. She displayed religious prints and statues in the dining room, parlor, library, and bedrooms. A massive family bible sat in the center of her bedroom.

Mrs. Walker’s diabetes greatly limited her mobility in her final years. By the late 1920s’ she used a wheelchair and spent more time at home. However, Mrs. Walker’s leadership obligations never slackened.  She outfitted her house with a home office, meeting rooms, an upstairs kitchenette, and an elevator.More...
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