Family members prepare for unveiling of the Maggie Walker statue - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Family members prepare for unveiling of the Maggie Walker statue

The Maggie Walker statue will be unveiled on Saturday. (Source: NBC12) The Maggie Walker statue will be unveiled on Saturday. (Source: NBC12)

The countdown is on to Saturday’s unveiling of Richmond’s newest statue. Crews have finished putting the final touches on the Maggie L. Walker site at the intersection of Broad and Adams.

It is an exciting time for the city. However, for some, this is a dream come true.

When it comes to the history of Maggie Lena Walker, Liza Mickens knows it from beginning to end.

"There were some speeches you just had to memorize. Some productions you just had to learn," said Mickens.

That is because the 19-year-old has a special connection with one of Richmond’s most recognized residents.

"I am the great-great granddaughter of Maggie Lena Walker. My grandmother was her last living granddaughter," said Mickens.

So, to say this site which will surround the Maggie Lena Walker statue is "exciting" for Liza is an understatement. Even the location of the site makes her smile.

"My favorite part about Maggie Walker's story is the work that she did through the emporium here on Broad Street. And she is going to be one of the few, if not the only statue here on Broad Street, and her emporium was the largest employer of black females in the city of Richmond at a time when black-owned businesses were not allowed on this street," said Mickens.

It is this story - and many more - some people believe the statue will help to preserve, including the staff at the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site at 2nd and Leigh Streets.

Park ranger Ajena Cason Rogers says recognizing the legacy of Mrs. Walker, who was not only an entrepreneur, but a teacher, bank founder, leader, philanthropist and community activist, sends an important message not only to the local community, but to the nation.

"Being a woman who struggled in Jim Crow to make her community better, and to show as an example what can be done if you really work hard and put your mind to it. Obstacles came left and right, but she never gave up, and her community never gave up. It's because of the work that they did that we're able to stand here and pull our different parts of community together,” said Rogers.

As Liza checks out all of Mrs. Walker's milestones at the new site, now engraved in stone, she cannot help but to wonder how her famous ancestor would feel about all of this attention.

"She was a very humble woman, so I’m sure she would just be honored to be recognized for all of the work that she did," said Mickens.

Recognition many believe is long overdue.

"The whole family is coming. We're going to have a great celebration the only way we know how. We've always had big block parties for Miss Maggie, and this one is going to be the grandest," said Mickens.

The statue unveiling is Saturday, July 15, at 10 a.m., which is also Mrs. Walker's birthday.

The park service has several events planned for the day. After the ceremony, park rangers will be conducting walking tours to Mrs. Walker's home for a birthday celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

They will finish things off with a walking tour of Mrs. Walker's final resting place - Evergreen Cemetery - beginning at 7 p.m.

Click here to learn more about the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site.

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