Last name: Maggie L. Walker
Job title: President
Company: Saint-Luc Penny Savings Bank
Not: July 17, 1864
Deceased: December 15, 1934
Famous said: “No one is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow up”
Perhaps the most inspiring finance âlegendâ we’ve covered so far, Maggie L. Walker (nÃ©e Draper) was a true trailblazer and trailblazer. Officially the first woman of African American descent to set up a bank in the United States (St. Luke Penny Savings Bank), she accomplished this feat in 1903 – some 38 years after the abolition of slavery and 17 years before that women do not get the right to vote.
Born July 15, 1864 in Richmond, Virginia, shortly after the Civil War, Walker grew up primarily in the care of her mother, Elizabeth Draper, a laundress and former slave.
At the age of fourteen, Walker became heavily involved in the Independent Order of Saint Luke, an organization dedicated to combating racial and gender injustice, promoting education and caring for the sick. . At the age of 35, she had ascended to the highest role in the Order of Most Worthy Grand Secretary, which she would retain until her death.
Besides this humanitarian work, there was another strong passion in his life: business. After a brief stint as a teacher, Walker has proven to be a competent and innovative financier and insurance leader. In addition to herself as president, the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank has also appointed several other women to board positions. The bank eventually merged with two others in the Richmond area to become The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company. Walker served as chairman of the board.
During her time in finance, Walker’s greatest achievement was the dedication and tireless support she gave to black women and communities until her death in 1934. Raising funds for school-aged girls deprived, sanatoriums and nursing homes in black quarters, Walker’s humanity was truly limitless. .
In 1925, Virginia Union University awarded him an honorary master’s degree in science. While this is the only indication of a future legacy to be bestowed during his lifetime, subsequent tributes to Walker’s memory include Maggie L. Walker High School in Richmond, a posthumous induction into the Junior Achievement US Business Hall of Fame. (2001), and a bronze statue of him on Broad Street in Richmond (2017).
It may seem incredible that she was successful in setting a new precedent in women-led finance at the dawn of the 20th century, but Walker’s story is a testament to the good that banking institutions can produce with the right visionary leadership at bar. Now more than ever, we must seek guidance and inspiration from his example for the difficult times that still lie ahead.