Mary Walker Historical & Educational Foundation
The educational and historical museum was created to honor Mary Walker, a former slave that learned to read and write at the age of 117 in Chattanooga.
Backstory and Context
Established in 1970 as an educational and historical foundation organization as part of the local schools and educational services. It was set up in honor for Mary Walker, who at the time was a former slave aged 117 and had barely learned to read and write.
When Rev. John Lloyd Edwards, Jr. heard Walker's oral testimony on tape recounting her experiences as a slave and her efforts to read, it was reported that he cried. This experience prompted him set up the foundation. Walker was the last living slave in America. She was 15 when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and she lived through 26 presidents. She enrolled in the Chattanooga Area Literacy Movement class at age 116 and lived to be 121 (in 2012).
The foundation also includes exhibits of Mary Walker and her journey from slave to aged student.