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Day of service honors 156th birthday of Richmond trailblazer Maggie Walker

Posted at 11:24 PM, Jul 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-18 23:48:39-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Several Richmond organizations came together Saturday for a day of service in tribute to trailblazer Maggie L. Walker.

Walker was the first woman to open a bank in the United States in 1903. She was also a civil rights pioneer, entrepreneur and mother who pushed for economic empowerment and independence in her Jackson Ward neighborhood.

Participants celebrated what would have been the entrepreneur’s 156th birthday with a moment of silence for Rep. John Lewis, who died Friday at age 80.

Additionally, folks planted flowers and cleaned up around the statue in her honor at Broad and North Adams streets. The 10-foot bronze sculpture, which marked the culmination of a 20-year effort to pay tribute to Walker’s achievements, was unveiled in 2017.

Volunteers, who also picked up litter in Jackson Ward and installed a new mural at Calhoun community center, said Walker would have amazed by her neighborhood today.

"To put your hand to the wheel, to the plow to make the changes, make the differences," said Ajena Cason, a supervisory park ranger for the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. "That would be so incredible for her. She would be very proud to see what we are doing here today."

Mayor Levar Stoney called Walker's legacy "a reminder that we stand on the shoulders of giants and have a responsibility to lift up our community."

The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site is located at 600 N. 2nd Street in Richmond.