We are proud to celebrate Black History Month with our sponsor, Norfolk State University as well as highlight three prominent African American figures that hold significance to the historical evolution of our African American community, Maggie L. Walker, John Mitchell Jr, and Rosa Dixon Bowser. Each figure has played an important part in Richmond’s role in our nation's Black History.
We would also like to give recognition to the East End Cemetery Clean Up and Evergreen Cemetery Clean Up & Restoration Project as they play an active role in the restoration of these sites. The East End and Evergreen Cemeteries are located in eastern Henrico county at 50 Evergreen Road. They are the resting places for many notable Richmond area African-Americans, including Rosa Bowser, Maggie Lena Walker, and John Mitchell Jr. The East End/Evergreen Cemetery Clean Up & Restoration Project brings together a small group of caring individuals along with many local students are working to clear the cemetery and restore it’s natural beauty.
Maggie L. Walker
In spite of humble beginnings in post-Civil War Richmond, Virginia, Maggie Lena Walker achieved national prominence as a businesswoman and community leader. Her business acumen, personality, and lifelong commitment to a beneficial burial society fueled her climb to success. She was the first African American woman in the United States to found a bank. As a leader her successes and vision offered tangible improvements in the way of life for African Americans and women.
Rosa Dixon Bowser
Born in Amelia county, Rosa Dixon Bowser was the first African American educator hired in Richmond, VA. She organized the Virginia Teacher's Reading Circle, which became the Virginia State Teachers Association, the first organization representing black teachers in Virginia, where Rosa served as president from 1890 to 1892.
Dixon was also president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Virginia, as well as the founder of the Richmond Woman's League.
John Mitchell Jr.
One of the most respected black leaders of his day, John Mitchell Jr. courageously defied lynch mobs, vigorously promoted black economic self-sufficiency and organized nonviolent protests.
Mitchell used his newspaper, The Richmond Planet, as a vehicle to awaken the conscience of both blacks and whites to the reality of racial injustice. A man of many talents, he was a community activist, politician, a leader of the Knights of Pythias, President of the National Afro-American Press Association, and Founder and President of a commercial bank.