Maggie Lena Walker was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1864 and was the first woman in the United States to become a president of a local bank and also was a successful businesswoman. She was always near woman’s rights , civic affairs and African-American problems, achieving real improvements for African-Americans and women, in spite of her family and health problems.
After the death of her father when she was a child, she could manage to help her mother´s laundry business and attend classes. When she was fourteen, she joined the Grand United Order of St. Luke, and African-American cooperative insurance society founded by a former slave (she was the daughter of former slaves too). The order was in debt, but implementing successful programs and joining new people with her speaking ability to the order, she reached the leadership position in it.
In 1903 she opened the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and became its president. The bank’s goal was to facilitate loans to the community. In 1930, the Bank merged with two other black-owned banks in Richmond to become the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company. It continues today being the oldest minority owned-bank in the United States.
She was also an active member of different associations all related with colored people.Her energy and ability for public relations made people with less opportunities were helped by a bank managed from a woman’s point of view.