#OnThisDay July 15, 1867 Maggie Lena Walker, entrepreneur and civic leader, was born in Richmond, VA. She was the first Black woman to found a bank, the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank.

Who was Maggie Lena Walker?

Glad you asked.

Born to enslaved parents, her mother worked as a laundress and her father as a butler in a popular Richmond hotel. Walker’s father was killed + she got a job to help with the bills. Although his death was ruled a suicide, she always believed he was murdered.
After graduation she taught school. upon graduation, began teaching. She stepped down from teaching after she married a successful brick maker. When Walker was 14, she joined the Independent Order of St. Luke’s, an Black group that helped the sick and elderly in Richmond.
Within the organization, Walker held many high-ranking positions. In 1902, she began publishing the organization’s newspaper, The St. Luke Herald. She encouraged Black ppl in Richmond to harness their economic power by starting their own institutions through the newspaper.
Listen. That was a RADICAL CONCEPT. White people didn't think Black people possessed the intelligence, skill, thrift or intestinal fortitude it took to have our own.

Even though we've been doing that since 1526.🙄
Walker had always focused her efforts on accounting and math. Her first business endeavor was a community insurance company for Black women. In 1903, she founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank.
She was the FIRST WOMAN - PERIOD - to start a BANK. Talk about "kujichagulia" - I will help my self! 💯🔥🤩The Penny Savings Bank not only attracted adults but Walker worked to appeal to children by passing out forms which encouraged them to save their money.
In 1915, Walker’s husband was accidentally killed by her son, after he mistook him for a burglar. Her husband’s passing left her in charge of a large estate. She continued working for the Order of St. Luke's but also held leadership positions in other civic organizations.
Pause here for a second. A Black woman, born to enslaved parents, STARTED A BANK. A WHOLE BANK.

For the record, I bank with Black owned Industrial Bank of Washington, DC and a credit union.
She was VP of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). She also served as the Vice President of the Richmond chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
By 1924, the Penny Savings Bank had spread to other parts of Virginia and included more than 50,000 members. While other banks collapsed during the Great Depression St. Luke’s Penny Saving survived.
The new institution, the Consolidated Bank and Trust opened for business on January 2, 1930 at the 1st and Marshall Street location of the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. Two years later, Consolidated Bank and Trust was renamed Premiere bank. It still operates today!🔥🤩
After an illness in 1928, Walker was forced to use a wheelchair. Although limited in movement, Walker remained a leader in the Richmond African American community. She fought arduously for women’s rights as well.
For much of her life Walker served as board member of the Virginia Industrial School for Girls.

On December 15, 1934, Walker died from complications due to diabetes. Walker’s house in Richmond has since been designated a National Historic Site by the National Park Service.

A Black woman, born to enslaved parents, started a bank that exists today. And still fought for a better world for Black women, men and children, despite her wealth.

That's using your platform for good.

Rest in peace and power, Queen.


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More from @JamesMWilliam18

16 Jul
#OnThisDay 1944 Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, a Black woman, is arrested in Virginia for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on an interstate Greyhound bus.

What was this all about?

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Black people have been fighting segregation in public travel for years. Homer Plessy, a Black man, refused to give up his seat on a segregated train. Ida B. Wells refused to do the same. The first broad bus boycott by Black ppl was in Baton Rouge, LA in 1953. ImageImage
Ms. Morgan, a Black woman, purchased a Greyhound ticket that day in Gloucester, Virginia, boarded the bus, and took a seat in the assigned "Black section."
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16 Jul
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Don't know about Ida B. Wells-Barnett?

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If you don't read ANY of my #OnThisDay or #GladYouAsked threads from beginning until the end, I respectfully ask you do so today. When I found out she attended Fisk University for a minute . . . 🤩🤩
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15 Jul

As a former conservator in my life, I am glad that FINALLY the federal government is taking a look at how conservatorships are run and operated. This is only my experience in DC and MD.

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My mother had Alzheimer's, and lived with me the last 5 years of her life. I was her conservator the last seven times she took a turn around the sun. Image
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15 Jul
#OnThisDay July 15, 1869 Captain A.J. Hayne, a Black man who led a Union regment during the Civil War, was assassinated by a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Who was Captain A.J. Hayne?

Glad you asked.

This one required quite a lot of digging. YES, Captain Hayne was a Black man - fair skinned with blue eyes - but there is very little known about his back ground before enlisting in the military during the Civil War.
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#OnThisDay July 14, 1885 Sarah E. Goode was one of the first Black women to receive a patent.

Don't know about Sarah E. Goode?

Glad you asked.

Regrettably, there is very little that is known about Sarah Goode. Some biographies said she was born enslaved, others said she was a "free" person. What we DO know is she was a legal and business trailblazer.
Sarah Elisabeth Goode (1855?-1905) was one of the first African-American women to receive a patent from the United States government. She was granted a patent for a folding cabinet bed on July 14, 1885.

Ever see a "murphy bed"? She invented the precursor to THAT!
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13 Jul
#OnThisDay July 13, 1985 civil rights fighter and tennis legend Arthur Ashe was inducted in to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Who was Arthur Ashe?

Glad you asked.

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Full disclosure. As a junior editorial assistant at a university press, Mr. Ashe made a presentation for his book on the Black athlete. As a University press, that really wasn't in our wheelhouse, but it took all the strength of my ancestors not to pass out. THIS WAS ARTHUR ASHE.
Arthur Ashe was born in Richmond, VA in 1943. He had a brother, Johnnie, who was 5 years younger. Both brothers were born into a family that claimed direct descent from Amar, a West African woman who was enslaved and brought to America in 1735 aboard a ship called The Doddington.
Read 34 tweets

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