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Maggie L. Walker’s 149th Birthday Commemoration

Maggie L. Walker’s 149th birthday commemoration to be a celebration of the Jackson Ward community

To celebrate the 149th birthday of Maggie L. Walker, on Saturday, July 13, 2013, the National Park Service will host a series of programs and exhibits exploring the history of her community of Jackson Ward and her contributions to its growth and prosperity.

The birthday is just one of several milestone anniversaries being celebrated this year, including the 150th birthday of John Mitchell, a contemporary of Maggie Walker’s and a fellow newspaper publisher and activist. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the historic Hippodrome Theatre.

The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site will host three ranger-led programs focusing on a variety of facets of Jackson Ward’s history. All programs begin or take place at the park’s visitor center at 600 N. 2nd Street.

“The Hippodrome at 100: A Century of Entertainment in Jackson Ward”
1:00 p.m.
Park Ranger Ben Anderson, musician, historian, and PhD candidate at the College of William and Mary, will explore the music of Maggie Walker’s time, the history and role of the Hippodrome Theater, and the influence of both on the Jackson Ward community.

“From Slavery to Entrepreneurship”
2:00 p.m.
Park Ranger George Peeterse will explore the story of economic empowerment and emerging elack-owned businesses in Reconstruction-era Richmond and Jackson Ward.

Historic Jackson Ward Walking Tour
3:00 p.m.
A one-hour, one-mile walking tour of the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood led by Park Ranger Melissa Weissert, looking at how 2nd Street became nationally known as Black Wall Street – and how Jackson Ward got its name!

In addition, a temporary exhibit entitled, “On the Road with Maggie Walker” will explore how Walker’s use of first-class automobiles was designed to serve as an inspiration to her community and an example of a successful African American businesswoman in the era of Jim Crow.

Additional programs will be ongoing throughout the afternoon, including tours of Walker’s historic home given on the hour and half-hour, and a Junior Ranger “Hunt for History” program for children.

“The life of Maggie Walker and the history of Jackson Ward – they are deeply intertwined with one another,” said park superintendent David Ruth. “Each shaped the other and both benefitted from that community and family connection. Maggie Walker would be proud to have her birthday celebration focus on her beloved Jackson Ward.”

About Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site and the National Park Service

The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, home of the first African American woman in the United States to become president of a chartered bank, has been a National Park site since 1978. A national activist for the rights of African Americans and women, Maggie Walker also inspired young people to learn self-discipline, self-help, and selflessness, and groomed young leaders who knew the importance of helping others and their communities. Guided tours of her restored home, located in historic Jackson Ward, are given by National Park rangers. The park visitor center is open Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additional information is available at 804-771-2017, or on the web at or

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

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