Maggie L. Walker's Grandchildren Russell and Melvin Walker Toy Manicure Set


Slavery had torn African American families apart. This legacy perhaps explains why Mrs. Walker and other African Americans of her generation so treasured their families. Walker’s biological parents, Elizabeth Draper, a former slave and Eccles Cuthbert, a white Irish immigrant, were forbidden from marriage by Virginia race laws. Draper later married an African American man, William Mitchell.  He helped raise Maggie until he was killed in 1876. From then on, Maggie was especially close to her mother; brother, Johnnie; and her uncles. 

In 1886, Maggie married Armstead Walker, a successful brick contractor and postal worker. They had two sons (a third son died in infancy).  Both sons married and had children. The Walkers also adopted Armstead’s distant cousin, Polly.  She did the housekeeping and child rearing while the Walkers were at work. Mrs. Walker was proud of her family and their accomplishments. She displayed her sons’ diplomas and certificates in the library.More...