Maggie Lena Walker! The first black woman to charter as well as run a bank in the United States.
Despite humble beginnings, being born to former enslaved parents, she would rise to establish herself as one of the foremost female business leaders in the US, many thanks to her entrepreneurial skills.
The inspiring African-American businesswoman and teacher achieved the feat when she founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Va., in 1903.
With vision to narrow the wage gap and create better living conditions for African Americans, Walker successfully transformed black business practices and paved way for others to follow.
Born 15 July 1864 to a mother, Elizabeth Draper, a former slave and an assistant cook in the Church Hill mansion of Elizabeth Van Lew, who had been a spy in the Confederate capital city of Richmond for the Union during the War, and her father, Eccles Cuthbert, an Irish-born Confederate soldier and a postwar writer for the New York Herald, she didn’t let her background deter her from achieving greatness.
Strength of character; Although disabled by paralysis after an illness in 1928 and forced to use a wheelchair later in life as well as was suffering from diabetes, Walker still remained strong in activism, fighting tirelessly for women’s rights. She also became a shining example for people with disabilities. Walker also served as board member of the Virginia Industrial School for Girls.
On December 15, 1934, Maggie Lena Walker died from complications due to diabetes. Her legacy still lives.