Meet Maggie Lena Walker, First African-American Female to Work as a Bank President in the United States

Maggie Lena Walker was born in 1864 to Elizabeth Draper, a former slave who worked at the Richmond home of Elizabeth Van Lew, an abolitionist and Union spy.

Maggie Lena Walker was an African-American businesswoman and a teacher. She was the first American female of any race to work as a bank president in the United States. Walker was a great leader and had the vision to make possible efforts to introduce improvements in the life of females and African-Americans. Later in life, she also became a big example for people with disabilities.

On July 15, 1864, Maggie Lena Walker was born as Maggie Lena DR*pedr in Richmond, Virginia. She was born to a slave mother, Elizabeth DR*pedr who worked as an assistant cook for Elizabeth Van Lew, whose estate where Maggie was born. Eccles Cuthbert was Maggie’s biological father, but he was never married to her mother and was an Irish-American whom Elizabeth met on the Van Lew estate. Walker’s mother later married a butler of the estate and gave birth to Johnnie, Maggie’s half-brother.

As both the brother and sister grew up, they moved from the estate to a small house which was their own. But unfortunately, a tragedy occurred when Walker’s stepfather was found all dead drowned in the river. The death of her stepfather left all of them in severe poverty but to support the family, Elizabeth started a laundry business and got quick assistance from Maggie. It was the time when Maggie got the idea how the quality of life differs between Whites and Blacks in America. This thing made her dedicate all her life for the support and betterment of Black people.

Maggie Walker attended the Lancaster School in her teen years and later she went to Richmond Colored Normal School where both these institutions were dedicated to the African-American education. Later on, for the advancement of African-Americans financial and social issues, Walker joined the Independent of St. Luke who was a fraternal organization. After completing her graduation, she started teaching at the Lancaster School and remained there till she married Armstead Walker Jr. After marriage, she left the job due to school’s policy and dedicated her life to her family and Order of St. Luke.

With immense hard work, Maggie Walker continued the control of the Order of St. Luke. Unfortunately, the organization came to the verge of bankruptcy, but Maggie promised some great plans to save the great organization. After going through many hardships, Maggie Walker opened the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and became the first female to hold the bank presidency in the United States. This bank offered unique opportunities to African-American Women to sustain better lives.

Later in Life, Maggie Walker was bound to a wheelchair and suffered a diabetic condition. She died at the age of 70 on December 15, 1934, but all her hopes and good deeds remained a great example for the people who love to see equal radical values.

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