3.9 Maggie Lena Walker, Bank President

Maggie Lena Walker, Bank President

Maggie Lena Walker was the first African-American woman to run a bank (and almost the first American woman of any color to run a bank). She led it successfully through a world war, a pandemic, and the Great Depression, and after her death it went on to survive as a continuously black-owned bank for almost a century. Listen to hear her story!

Selected Sources and Images

My major source for this episode is the National Park Service, who have a fabulous site about Walker, that is well worth exploring. The virtual tour of her home is here, and the Richmond News reported on her memorial and her son’s trial.

Maggie Lena Walker in 1913

Image: The Browns, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Walker was nothing if not professional. This formal letter was written to her son, inviting him to dinner in the house he lived in.

Image from the National Park Service.

This picture was taken about 1925. The bank was in full swing.

Image from the National Park Service.

I also used the following articles:

  • Brown, Elsa Barkley. “Womanist Consciousness: Maggie Lena Walker and the Independent Order of Saint Luke.” Signs 14, no. 3 (1989): 610-33. Accessed June 18, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3174404.
  • Meier, August, and Elliott Rudwick. “Negro Boycotts of Segregated Streetcars in Virginia, 1904-1907.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 81, no. 4 (1973): 479-87. Accessed July 1, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4247829.
  • Suggs, Celia Jackson, and Maggie L. Walker. “Maggie Lena Walker.” Negro History Bulletin 63, no. 1/4 (2000): 39-44. Accessed June 16, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44985764.

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