Liza Mickens: McClellan’s ‘thoughtful, compelling demeanor reminded me of another female leader I had drawn inspiration from, my great great-grandmother, Maggie Lena Walker’
Today, on Women’s Equality Day, the great great-granddaughter of Richmond civil rights leader Maggie Walker endorsed Sen. Jennifer McClellan for governor.
Liza Mickens, who lives in Richmond, worked closely with McClellan, as McClellan led the Senate resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment this year. Women’s Equality Day, celebrated on August 26, honors the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920; this year marks the 100th anniversary.
“I first met Senator McClellan about 10 years ago while visiting the state capitol,” Mickens said. “I remember she came in to talk to my classmates about her role in the House of Delegates. Her thoughtful, compelling demeanor reminded me of another female leader I had drawn inspiration from, my great great-grandmother, Maggie Lena Walker. Most people know Maggie Walker through her bank, but are unaware she was the first and sadly the last African American woman to run on a statewide ballot in Virginia. She once said, ‘The elevation of woman to her proper and rightful place has been the slowest work of the centuries.’ I recently gathered inspiration from Grandma Walker and Senator McClellan in my work ensuring Virginia would be the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Now more than ever we need to stand with candidates who represent our interests, all of our interests; that is why I stand with Jenn.”
“I’m honored to have the endorsement of Liza Mickens, who is continuing her family’s proud history of community leadership,” Sen. McClellan said. “Today, we celebrate the achievement of the 19th Amendment in granting women the right to vote. We stand on the shoulders of legends like Maggie Walker, as we continue her fight for opportunity and equality in Virginia.”
Maggie Walker was a businesswoman and community leader in Richmond, and was the first Black woman in America to found a bank. Walker was an advocate for equal rights, African American women’s rights and she served on the boards of the National Association of Colored Women, and the Virginia Industrial School for Girls. She was also instrumental in organizing and serving the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was a member of its national board, leading efforts to push for women’s suffrage and voter registration. In 1921, she became the first Black woman to run for statewide office in Virginia.