Henrico woman shares Maggie Walker documents

Henrico woman shares Maggie Walker documents

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's not your typical request for help, but we got the job done when a Henrico woman discovered old documents she thought were important and wanted to share with a famous Richmond family.

That family is the Maggie Walker family and the recent ceremony honoring her amazing legacy is what prompted this unusual call for help.

Maggie Lena Walker inspired generations through her work as bank founder, educator, and a community activist. The recent statue unveiling is proof the Richmond icon still inspires action even today.

"It was just overwhelming," said Patricia Davis.

It's why we arranged for these two to meet.  A Maggie Walker descendant and Patricia Davis, who for years has had an archival gem tucked away in a drawer, not realizing its significance until now.

"When my mother, passed I just wasn't ready to go through a lot of her things," said Davis.  The Class of 1933 high school year book "The Spirit of Armstrong" and in it, graduating seniors celebrate Maggie Lena as their class inspiration.

"When they did the unveiling, It inspired me to say, 'You can do this. You can go and you can get past your mother not being here and read those things,' " said Davis.

I reached out to Liza Mickens, the great-great granddaughter of Maggie Lena.  Liza's grandmother was Ms. Walker's oldest grandchild, Maggie Laura.  In the yearbook, Maggie Laura eloquently writes about the present day youth back then.  Mickens is reading it for the first time.

"Maggie Laura's words are so beautiful. It's called a Challenge to the Youth and it's something that I feel everybody should hear today. It's an incredible high school valedictory address," said Mickens.

I called on Museum Curator Ethan Bullard for an expert assessment of Patricia's find.

"This is a very personal thing for her and her family. Something that's quite personal still has global implications," said Bullard.

The museum has two copies of the yearbook. They are among the rare items researchers from around the world travel to see.  Maggie Laura graduated from Armstrong in three years and became a pediatrician at age 22 in Chicago.

"Probably her last two really public visits will be 1979 when she transfers the deed of ownership of her home to the National Park Service ensuring that this will be publicly owned and publicly enjoyed in perpetuity," said Bullard.

A predestined meeting confirmed with a hug.

I just want to say thank you for sharing this with me. This has been incredible," said Mickens.

The other important Richmond visit for Maggie Laura was in 1950.  Richmond had named its second African American school Maggie Walker High. Maggie Laura gave the graduation speech.

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