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Maggie Walker statue to be dedicated on her birthday July 15

Jeremy Lazarus | 4/21/2017, 6:06 a.m.
City officials plan to dedicate the new Maggie L. Walker statue Downtown on July 15, the 153rd birthday of the ...

City officials plan to dedicate the new Maggie L. Walker statue Downtown on July 15, the 153rd birthday of the Richmond businesswoman and great.

Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney confirmed the date on a visit to the Free Press last week.

He said that was the most “appropriate” date to unveil the long-awaited statue at the new memorial plaza at Broad and Adams streets.

Sculptor Tony Mendez has said the statue is finished and he is simply waiting for delivery instructions. He received a $300,000 commission from the city’s Public Art Commission to create the statue. The city also is spending $600,000 to develop the plaza.

Mrs. Walker was a leader in efforts to boost the African-American community with her work with the Independent Order of St. Luke, a mutual aid society that promoted humanitarian causes.

In 1903, she became the first African-American woman to charter a bank in the United States and serve as its president as part of her ambitious agenda for the order as racial barriers and segregation efforts heightened.

She also developed a newspaper for the order, although it was less successful than the bank. Originally known as St. Luke’s Penny Savings Bank and later Consolidated Bank & Trust Co., the bank continued as an independent operation for more than 100 years before it was sold. The bank is now a branch of Premier Bank of Huntington, W.Va.

Mrs. Walker died in 1934.