#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.

#GladYouAsked
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.
FIN/

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.

Source:
womenshistory.org/education-reso…

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16 Jul
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