Tag Archives: Maggie Lena Walker

Maggie Lena Walker, banker/activist extraordinaire!

Maggie Lena Walker was born Maggie Lena Draper in Richmond, Virginia on July 15, 1864 to Elizabeth Draper, a former slave and assistant cook for Elizabeth Van Lew, an abolitionist, and Eccles Cuthbert, an Irish American who had met her mother on the Van Lew estate.  Her parents were never married.  Her mother married William Mitchell, the butler of the Van Lew estate in 1870 and shortly after the family moved away from the estate to a small house of their own.   In 1876 William drown in a river.  His death, ruled a suicide by police but contested in the mind of Maggie, left the family in severe poverty.  Her mother began a laundry business where Maggie assisted with cleaning the laundry for their white patrons.  During this time she became increasingly aware of the disparity between the quality of life for people of color vs whites, an awareness […]

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