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Slaying the Lion of Prejudice: The Speeches of Maggie L. Walker

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Abstract:

The speeches of Maggie L. Walker as Secretary-Treasurer of the Independent Order of St. Luke, are frequently cited as referential evidence of her views on various subjects. The Independent Order of St. Luke, an African American fraternal organization with 100,000 members in 24 states, was known for its quality insurance, St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, and St. Luke Herald. A Race Woman and Womanist, Walker led the Richmond-based organization from 1899 until her December 1934 death, building such a strong organization it survived until the 1980s. The IOSL provided financial services, a supportive community and much needed employment especially for African American women. Walker used her rhetorical gifts to fight against the ‘lion of prejudice’ as she called it, both arguing against that lion’s cruelty and for her community of postwar African Americans. In this presentation, Mrs. Walker’s letters from the Maggie Walker/St. Luke Hall Collection (a privately owned collection now being processed and digitized at the College of William & Mary) will also be examined for her abilities as a writer through its persuasive and lyrical content. Her speeches “Bear Ye One Another’s Burden,” “Beniah’s Valour,” “If Christ Came to Washington,” “Introduction to Mary Church Terrell,” “Nothing But Leaves,” and “Race Unity” show Walker’s ability to understand and subsequently persuade her audience through her rhetorical techniques and lyrical ease. As a business executive and community organizer, her letters show her reactions to situations they encountered. She cajoled, encouraged, demanded and directed her field agents to ‘do your best.’ Because she dictated many of them, her ‘voice’ is clearly heard. As part of the team collaborating on the processing/digitizing of the Maggie Walker/ St. Luke Hall Collection, I have personally examined these documents, sometimes being the first person to touch them in decades and have gained insights about Mrs. Maggie Walker, her national community, and the increasingly awful effects of the Great Depression. This presentation will share those insights to understand Walker and her community and how the experiences from and after the Civil War shaped the African American voices in correspondence and speeches.
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Association:
Name: 96th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p522144_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Caterine, Matthew. "Slaying the Lion of Prejudice: The Speeches of Maggie L. Walker" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 96th Annual Convention, TBA, Richmond, VA, <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p522144_index.html>

APA Citation:

Caterine, M. "Slaying the Lion of Prejudice: The Speeches of Maggie L. Walker" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 96th Annual Convention, TBA, Richmond, VA <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p522144_index.html

Publication Type: Invited Paper
Abstract: The speeches of Maggie L. Walker as Secretary-Treasurer of the Independent Order of St. Luke, are frequently cited as referential evidence of her views on various subjects. The Independent Order of St. Luke, an African American fraternal organization with 100,000 members in 24 states, was known for its quality insurance, St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, and St. Luke Herald. A Race Woman and Womanist, Walker led the Richmond-based organization from 1899 until her December 1934 death, building such a strong organization it survived until the 1980s. The IOSL provided financial services, a supportive community and much needed employment especially for African American women. Walker used her rhetorical gifts to fight against the ‘lion of prejudice’ as she called it, both arguing against that lion’s cruelty and for her community of postwar African Americans. In this presentation, Mrs. Walker’s letters from the Maggie Walker/St. Luke Hall Collection (a privately owned collection now being processed and digitized at the College of William & Mary) will also be examined for her abilities as a writer through its persuasive and lyrical content. Her speeches “Bear Ye One Another’s Burden,” “Beniah’s Valour,” “If Christ Came to Washington,” “Introduction to Mary Church Terrell,” “Nothing But Leaves,” and “Race Unity” show Walker’s ability to understand and subsequently persuade her audience through her rhetorical techniques and lyrical ease. As a business executive and community organizer, her letters show her reactions to situations they encountered. She cajoled, encouraged, demanded and directed her field agents to ‘do your best.’ Because she dictated many of them, her ‘voice’ is clearly heard. As part of the team collaborating on the processing/digitizing of the Maggie Walker/ St. Luke Hall Collection, I have personally examined these documents, sometimes being the first person to touch them in decades and have gained insights about Mrs. Maggie Walker, her national community, and the increasingly awful effects of the Great Depression. This presentation will share those insights to understand Walker and her community and how the experiences from and after the Civil War shaped the African American voices in correspondence and speeches.


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