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[graphic] Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
Portrait of Maggie L. Walker taken in 1915
National Park Service photograph courtesy of Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975, and added to the National Park System in 1978, the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site commemorates the life and work of an exceptional woman who became very active in the economic, social and philanthropic life of Richmond's African Americans. Maggie Lena Walker (1867-1934) was born in Richmond, Virginia, the daughter of a former-slave and a northern abolitionist author. She was educated at the Lancaster School and at the Armstrong Normal School and married Armisted Walker, a building contractor, in 1886. The couple had three children. Maggie became an agent for Women's Union Insurance and also worked at the Independent Order of St. Luke, a fraternal and cooperative insurance society for African Americans, starting in 1867. She transformed the organization, which had been on the brink of financial failure, and by 1899 she became the company's executive secretary-treasurer. In 1902, she began publishing the St. Luke Herald and became president of the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, which absorbed all other black banks in Richmond in 1929-1930, becoming the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company.

[Photo] Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
National Park Service photograph courtesy of Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
A tireless worker, her efforts in the self-help movement for African Americans continued in other directions. In 1912 she organized the Richmond Council of Negro Women, which raised money to establish a school and farm for troubled black girls and also raised funds for the black sanatorium at Burkeville and a black nursing home in Richmond. Maggie Walker became president of the state branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and her efforts earned her many honors, including an honorary degree from Virginia Union University and a Richmond high school named after her. The Maggie Walker House is a two-story, Victorian Gothic building with a visitor center detailing her life and the Jackson Ward community, in which she lived and worked. The house is restored to its 1930s appearance with original Walker family pieces.

For further information, visit the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site website.

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