RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Broad Street will soon feature a new monument commemorating Maggie L. Walker, Mayor Dwight C. Jones and the City’s Public Art Commission (PAC) announced Tuesday.
The statue will be created by artist Antonio Tobias “Toby” Mendez.
The PAC worked with a team of neighborhood leaders and stakeholders to decide on the artist and location. The monument will be integrated into a new plaza and gathering space on Broad Street at North Adams Street. It will also be embedded as a landmark in the City’s Downtown Arts District.
Maggie L. Walker dedicated her life to civil rights advancement in the midst of the Jim Crow era. Walker’s home and business — where she broke ground as the first woman of any race to found a bank — are within walking distance of the planned monument site. The downtown location is also symbolic as the corridor once served as a divider between historically racially segregated neighborhoods. The new monument, which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2016, will serve as a gateway to the historic Jackson Ward community and the new home of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia at the historic Leigh Street Armory.
The community was asked about what elements of Maggie Walker’s life should be reflected in the monument. The images of her strength, perseverance and dedication to empower and educate were all consistent themes that will be represented.
“Not only will Richmond gain an important new monument that can reflect the diverse heritage and history of a significant local hero, but this effort will also underscore her role as a champion for civil rights on the national landscape,” said Mayor Jones. “Maggie Walker was a revolutionary leader in business, a champion for breaking down barriers between communities and showed incredible strength as a person that came out of extraordinarily challenging circumstances to create great things.”
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