You have seen the signs for Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site for years on I-95. If you live in Richmond, you might think you know the basics about her, so you don’t think there’s anything to learn: African American, female bank president. High school named after her.  Ok, good for you, but forgive me for telling you– you don’t know half of what’s amazing about this woman.

GO to the National Park Service site! It’s her home with her library, her furnishings, and most impressive of all, her story, and it’s all free!  How she did what she did when she did is fascinating and inspirational. Not enough people know the impact she had in Richmond and throughout the country in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Some day I will prove that she and I are related. She and my grandmother look like twins–and they both had Irish fathers. Perhaps that’s my next book. Nevertheless, get thee to Jackson Ward! The Park Rangers are so cute and knowledgeable–tell them Maureen said hi. And grab lunch at Ettamae’s Cafe on 2nd St. or Mama J’s on 1st St. to make it quite the outing.

Maggie L. Walker's home is on Leigh St., but the entrance to the site is on 2nd St.

After lunch, head to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center where the Pride over Prejudice exhibit about the Maggie Walker/Armstrong rivalry is ongoing.

At 00 Clay St. Admission is charged but see below about a great deal

It also has worthwhile permanent exhibits that put Maggie Walker’s life story into a larger context and introduce you to other lesser-known Richmonders whose stories deserve to be known. Don’t balk at paying admission–get the Court End Passport for $10 that gets you admission to the Black History Museum, Valentine Richmond History Center, and John Marshall House for a full year!

 There’s a new way to get to know Richmond, and you’re welcome to come along on Real Richmond\’s next food tour which will meander by Maggie Walker’s house and the Black History Museum, among other notable spots.  On Saturday, Nov. 20th at 2 p.m.   The Wards: The Art & Soul of Richmond spans both sides of Broad Street to take in the art, architecture, and history of Monroe and Jackson wards while we walk the neighborhoods and sample food from Comfort, Ettamae’s, Mama J’s, Chez Foushee and Lemaire at The Jefferson. Taste and see!

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