A right worthy grand mission: Maggie Lena Walker and the quest for Black economic empowerment

"Maggie Lena Walker's story, and that of the organization to which she dedicated her all, begins in 1867 with a nation struggling to repair the ruptures torn by slavery, rushing headlong into the Industrial Age. At age 14, Walker joined a floundering African American fraternal and cooperative insurance society that later became the Independent Order of St. Luke. She rose rapidly through its ranks to assume leadership as Right Worthy Grand Secretary-Treasurer in 1890, becoming a pioneering insurance executive, financier, and civic icon at the turn of the 20th century." "With boundless energy and spellbinding oratory, Walker virtually single-handedly brought the IOSL to solvency. She established its newsletter, department store, and bank - the nation's oldest black-owned bank - becoming the first African American woman to charter a banking institution in the U.S. At the peak of her leadership in the mid-1920s, she was one of the most highly paid and wealthiest black women of her time." "A Right Worthy Grand Mission follows Walker's extensive travels extolling the virtues of the IOSL and black economic empowerment and examines her involvements in the black women's club movement. It also reveals, however, that Walker's personal life was one of great sacrifice and successive calamities. The 1915 scandal that shrouded her family dominated Richmond news and gossip columns for months. Undaunted, Walker refused to let either injury or tragedy prevent her from fulfilling her nationwide obligations. "Despite personal hardship, she remained publicly optimistic to the very end. Her December 1934 funeral was one of the largest and grandest in the state, attracting black and white mourners alike. Decades later, her once-lavish home in Richmond's historic Jackson Ward was declared a national landmark by the U.S. Park Service. It currently serves as a museum and repository of her papers, books, and awards."--Jacket.