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Richmond to celebrate Maggie Walker's 159th birthday this weekend

Posted at 11:06 AM, Jul 14, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- The National Park Service, the Black History Museum, Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church, and the City of Richmond is inviting the public to celebrate the life and legacy of Maggie L. Walker.

Walker was the first African American woman to charter a bank and serve as its president.

She also dedicated herself to a life of civic engagement, challenging racial discrimination and gender bias, according to National Park Service park guide Ben Anderson.

“I think she was such a pioneering figure in a lot of ways," Anderson recalled. "She was really looking to uplift African Americans in general, but specifically, trying to strengthen the Black middle class by providing jobs to Black women."

All of the events are free and open to the public. They include an exhibit about Maggie Walker’s life, youth activities, and volunteer opportunities reflecting Walker’s commitment to community service.

The Black History Museum and National Park Service will host a presentation at the Black History Museum at 22 W Leigh Street on Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This event will include an exhibit celebrating Walker’s accomplishments, a viewing of "Our Inspiration: The Story of Maggie Lena Walker," and a reception.

On Saturday, the National Park Service and City of Richmond will host a series of service projects honoring Walker’s commitment to her community.

From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the public is invited to volunteer for garden beautification, tree preservation, or sidewalk clean-up in Jackson Ward. All service projects begin at the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site at 600 N 2nd Street.

Also on Third Steet Bethel A.M.E. Church invites youth to participate in a hands-on learning day beginning at noon at the church at 614 N. 3rd Street. The event will include a tour of Walker’s home, a reenactment of her 1901 speech at Third Street Bethel, games, and arts and crafts.

On Sunday, Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church will also lead a service honoring Walker’s legacy at 11 a.m. at the church.

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