Maggie Walker (1864-1934) was one of the most prominent businesswomen in America during the turn of the century. In 1903 she founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Virginia. When she cut the ribbon on opening day, she became the first female bank president in the United States. Today we honor Maggie Walker’s legacy in celebration of Black History Month.
In addition to founding a bank, Walker established a local newspaper. Through both her bank and newspaper, she helped to empower the African-American community by encouraging economic power through individual business endeavors. She was a highly effective advocate for African-American women’s rights and helped organize the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Despite the fact that Walker was born into poverty and had no college education, she persisted with courage, intellect, and passion to achieve her dreams. She Made History!