Woman makes difference with impressive display

Patricia Walker
Patricia Walker

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Fifteen years ago Patricia Walker decided to take a walk through history. The history of inventions by black Americans and their own personal stories, and black forefathers who trail-blazed into the history books.

The display of laminated photos with biographies are all located on the wall in the fellowship hall at the Union Chapel AME Zion Church in north Montgomery.

"I love old things and I love history," said Walker.

As you might imagine, Walker has posted the obvious names and faces. Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson and baseball great Jackie Robinson to name a few.

It's the lesser known names that Walker finds really interesting because they came up with conveniences that are still with us today.

For example: "The ironing board and the refrigerator," said Walker.

And people like Maggie Walker, no relations to Patricia Walker, who became the country's first black female bank president. And there's Garrett Morgan who, according to Walker, invented the traffic light.

Without such marvels: "We'd still be in the dark," Walker said.

All the more reason why Walker wants to share her spread of around 150 photos of famous and not-so famous black Americans with children.

"It's a wonderful display," said LaSandra Matthews. The 16-year old student from LAMP is among the 300 or so who come through Walker's church every February and March, about the time Walker puts up everything for black history month.

"I learned to value the small things. You look at something and wonder if a black person invented this," said Matthews.

Patricia Walker says she did her homework, research based on history books, school supply stores and the Internet.

Of all the biographies on the wall and the items on the tables, Patricia Walker says her favorite is Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. They need no introduction.

"They inspire me, what I do today," said Walker.

Walker's favorite invention? "The hair care products," she said with a smile.

The same for Matthews. "The hair products and the shoe. I don't like going barefooted and I always want my hair to look good," Matthews said with a chuckle.

Whether it's hair care products or the shoes, Patricia Walker's got it covered when it comes to highlighting the accomplishments of black Americans, bringing history a little closer to home.

Calling it a 'labor of love,' Patricia Walker says it takes her about 5 hours to set up her display. Walker says she's been encouraged to leave it up throughout the year.

Email Bryan Henry at bhenry@wsfa.com if you know of someone who is making a difference in their community.

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