in Richmond, Virginia’s Jackson Ward, he said that he had not,
although he had seen photographs.
“I’m over ninety years old,” he reminded, saying again that he
no longer lived in Richmond.
“When I saw her she was paralyzed, so I never saw her standing
up,” said Reid. “I was delighted to see that the statue shows that
she was a lady of power and standing erect.”
The statue symbolizes the power and dignity of Walker, rising
as a mark on the city of Richmond.
Lydia Freeman is a teacher at KIPP ENC Public Schools in
Gaston, North Carolina where she pushes sixth graders to think
deeply and engage with historical, social and political spheres
while practicing reading and writing. She writes often, engages
deeply in conversation with friends, and strives to live purposefully
in her community.
Later in life, Walker became paralyzed from the waist down
by diabetes that would eventually lead to her death in 1934. To get
into her limousine, she had a platform built from the house into
her garage, where she was helped into the car by her chauffeur,
“Everybody called him Fonzo,” recalled Reid.
At Christmastime, Walker would have Alfonza help her into
that limousine. From there, she would take a pile of dollar bills,
giving one to each of the police officers who were directing the
traffic on Broad Street.
“She’d get in her limo and give each police a dollar,” said Reid.
“A dollar was a lot of money. You could buy almost a whole carton
of cigarettes for a dollar.”
“She was generous,” recounted Reid. “She was an entrepreneur
but her organizations were more like benevolent societies. To
build a building and have a printing press ... it took quite a bit of
doing to do that as a woman in the early 1900s. That’s quite an
accomplishment. She built her own building and employed women,
and a few men. The men ran the printing press, but most of her
clerks were women. She educated her clerks. This was a time when
it was difficult to find work as a woman. She probably employed
more women as clerks than any other business in Richmond.”
Reid was nearly nine when Walker died in December of 1934.
Her funeral, which Reid described as large and well-attended, was
held at Richmond’s First African Baptist Church.
Reid went on to become a surgeon, civil rights leader, and
delegate. Today, he lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland. When asked
if he had attended the recent unveiling of Maggie Walker’s statue
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