Maggie Lena Draper Walker (1864-1934) was born to the formerly enslaved Elizabeth Draper and Eccles Cuthbert, an Irish-American Union soldier. Draper and Cuthbert never married but soon after Maggie's birth, Elizabeth married William Mitchell. In 1870, the Mitchells had a child, Maggie's half-brother Johnnie.
In 1876, Maggie’s stepfather William Mitchell drowned under mysterious circumstances. His death left the family in poverty – an experience that led Walker to devote her life to narrowing the racial gap in Richmond.