The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site is located inside what was once Walker’s home. It serves as a living memorial and commemorates the legacy of one of the most prominent women who lived in Richmond, Maggie L. Walker.
Maggie Lena Walker was born in 1864; her mother, a former slave, raised Maggie by herself, and Maggie worked with her as a laundress.
She became a teacher but had to leave after three years when she married Armstead Walker Jr. Maggie devoted herself to the local chapter of the Independent Order of St. Luke, where she has been volunteering since she was a teenager. The Order was an organization that worked to uplift African-Americans socially and financially. She worked in several leadership positions in the Order, establishing educational and community programs. In 1899, Walker was nominated the Order’s grand secretary and served in this position till her death.
Among her many accomplishments as an entrepreneur, businesswoman, civil rights, and community leader were establishing the Order’s newspaper, St. Luke Herald (1902), and the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank (1903), becoming the first woman in the US to establish and chair a bank. Walker promoted schools for African-American girls and led several local organizations, including the National Association of Colored Women (NACW).
In 1905, she and her family moved to a two-story Victorian Gothic brick rowhouse in the vibrant African American Jackson Ward neighborhood, where she lived until she passed away in 1934.
Her only surviving son, Melvin, continued living in the house with his sister, wife, and daughter. A year later, he passed away, and his widow, Hattie NF Walker, continued living in the house and preserved many of the furniture and objects Maggie L. Walker collected over the years, intending to convert the house into a museum in the memory of her mother-in-law. Hattie passed away in 1974, and her daughter Maggie Laura Walker sold the house to the National Park Service in 1979.
Walker’s house is the centerpiece of the national park, which includes six buildings.
The house was restored to its 1930’s appearance. On display are the original furniture, books, photographs, diplomas, and many personal items of the Walker family.
A visit to the house begins at the Visitor Center – 600 N. 2nd St. with a viewing of a 20-minute orientation film, “Carry On.” There are daily guided tours.
A few blocks away stands the Maggie Lena Walker Memorial Plaza; in its center stands a 10-foot-tall statue of Walker overlooking the beautiful streets of Richmond.
8@4 Education feat. Maggie Walker National Historic Site
This was a special story to share about Maggie Walker and the Maggie Walker National Historic Site. Maggie was a woman working to lift up herself and her community...she purchased the house on N. 2nd St in 1904...learn more about Maggie Walker and the National Historic Site in this 8 @ 4 segment presented by VCU Massey Cancer Center.
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8@4 Education feat. Maggie Walker National Historic SiteThis was a special story to share about Maggie Walker and the Maggie Walker National Historic Site. Maggie was a woman working to lift up herself and her community...she purchased the house on N. 2nd St in 1904...learn more about Maggie Walker and the National Historic Site in this 8 @ 4 segment presented by VCU Massey Cancer Center.
This post is also available in: Español