Author Elizabeth Shreve

The Mary Walker Foundation promotes economic literacy and stability for all through reading, writing and education. Our mission is to help alleviate poverty for all Chattanooga citizens and help create economic stability through literacy training and educational activities.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6 (KJV)

“Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation.” (Isaiah 33:6 NKJV)

The Amazing Mary Walker
America's Oldest Student 

The Amazing Mary Walker Click to enlarge picture & see back cover.

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Frederick Douglass

Mary Walker was enslaved until she was fifteen when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law in 1863. At that time, she could neither read nor write, but was still determined to succeed. Through all the ups and downs of life—joy and sorrow, love and hate—she fought her way to achieve her full potential, knowing that had to include literacy freedom. So, in 1963, she enlisted in the Chattanooga Area Literacy Movement (CALM). Two years later, at the age of 117, she finally read her first book.

Mary Walker received many medals and accolades for her endurance and resolve, including “The Key to the City of Chattanooga.” She was also designated Chattanooga, Tennessee’s “Ambassador of Goodwill” twice and was certified as “The Nation’s Oldest Student” by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

At 121, the book of Mary’s life in this world closed—a truly remarkable woman whose memory still inspires many to believe, “You are never too old to learn to read!”


The Amazing Mary Walker

ISBN: 978-1-949297-83-6

Size: 10x8 Pages: 36


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