Maggie Lena Walker: America’s First Woman Bank President

                              Young Maggie Lena Walker

Born: July 15, 1864 in Richmond, Virginia

Parents: Elizabeth Draper, a former slave and Eccles Cuthbert, Irish American; step-father William Mitchell

Siblings: Half-brother, Johnnie from mother’s husband William Mitchell 

Spouse (s): Armstead Walker, Jr. (m. 1886)

Children: 2 sons Russell and Melvin Walker

Education:  Lancaster School, Richmond School, Richmond Colored Normal School and Independent Order of St. Luke

Occupation:  Teacher, Community and Civil Rights Leader, Banker, and Businesswoman

Accomplishments, Achievements, and Contributions: In 1902, she established a newspaper for the organization, The St. Luke Herald. Shortly thereafter, she chartered the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. Mrs. Walker served as the bank’s first president, which earned her the recognition of being the first woman of any race to charter a bank in the United States. Later she agreed to serve as chairman of the board of directors when the bank merged with two other Richmond banks to become The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, which grew to serve generations of Richmonders as an African-American owned institution.”

Quotes: “When it comes to success the choice is simple. You can either stand up and be counted or lie down and be counted out!”


In Maggie’s honor Richmond Public Schools built a large brick high school adjacent to Virginia Union University. Maggie L. Walker High School was one of two schools in the area for black students, during the period of racial segregation in schools. The other was Armstrong High School. After generations of students spent their high-school years there, it was totally refurbished in the late 20th century to become the regional Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies.

The National Park Service operates the Maggie L. Walker Historical Site at the former Jackson Ward home. In 1978 the house was designated a National Historic Site and was opened as a museum in 1985. The site states that it “commemorates the life of a progressive and talented African-American woman. She achieved success in the world of business and finance as the first black woman in the United States to charter and serve as president of a bank, despite the many adversities. The site includes a visitor center detailing her life and the Jackson Ward community in which she lived and worked and her residence of thirty years.The house is restored to its 1930’s appearance with original Walker family pieces.” [6]

The St. Luke Building held the offices of the Independent Order of St. Luke, and the office of Maggie L. Walker. The office is preserved as it was at the time of her death in 1934.[7]The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982

Death: December 15, 1934 in Richmond, Virginia of complications from diabetes 


I Salute this AMAZING HER-story making sista!




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