Claudia Walker is an educator and Spelman alum teaching the youth about the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and financial literacy through her book series The ABCs of HBCUs and ABCs of Black Wall Street.
Before Walker entered the education arena, she worked on Wall Street as a financial analyst but decided to move to California to pursue her passion for teaching. She became a teacher at the American Indian Public High School in Oakland, California and eventually became the school’s principal.
Today, she is the owner of the publishing company The HBCU Prep School, a family-owned multimedia education company that amplifies Black voices and Black joy through children’s literature and videos.
While teaching, Walker noticed a gap in the school system regarding educating students about HBCUs and finance and saw fit to close it.
“From having conversations with my students, with their families, and then when I started with my own family, I realized that I could complain about the things that I thought were missing from the education system or I could be that bridge. And that’s when I decided to start my own publishing company, and really create the materials, the curriculum and all of the things that I felt were missing” Walker said.
In 2020, she released The ABCs of HBCUs with the goal of teaching kids of all ages the history and continued relevancy of HBCUs. Walker describes the book as a “VIP experience that takes you onto the different campuses of different historically black colleges.” From FAMU to Howard, the Divine Nine to Battle of the Bands, children learn about the love, lifestyles, and legacies that built these incredible institutions.
Walker’s time as a student at Spelman College helped influence her to create The ABCs of HBCUs.
She says that Spelman gave her a sense of confidence and provided a great support system. It was this support system that encouraged her to enter the world of finance as an English major. “I didn’t necessarily think that I had the background to do it,” Walker said about becoming a financial analyst. “But I did, I was successful, and it was a life-changing experience.
As a former Wall Street analyst, Walker wanted to educate children about financial literacy, investing, the stock market, and real estate, so she created her second book series The ABCs of Black Wall Street.
Released earlier this year, the book educates readers about the innovators, activists, and establishments that created one of America’s wealthiest Black communities, Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District. Walker wanted to highlight the success of Black Wall Street instead of its destruction to inspire kids and show them that they can also be successful, and serve their communities and families.
“I wanted to write a book that celebrated the pioneers, the entrepreneurs, the activists, doctors or lawyers or architects, the librarians,” she said. “I wanted to tell that story because it’s often a story that is not told.”
After launching The ABCs of Black Wall Street, The HBCU Prep School did a giveaway contest distributing free stocks to Black children all across the country, giving them an early start in their financial literacy journey.
They also launched their first Black Wall Street stock market camp for kids over the summer. During the 4-week program, Walker taught 4th-12th grade students how to make money and build wealth in the stock market, one of the ways she’s seeking to remedy what’s not being taught in the education space.
Both The ABCs of HBCUs and The ABCs of Black Wall Street book series feature a board book, coloring book, flashcards, and full-color activity books by grade level. The HBCU Prep School also features magazine-inspired notebooks that pay homage to Black Wall Street and Black College culture, puzzles, and other activity books. Walker says you can expect some exciting partnership announcements soon as well as more stock market classes.
Walker hopes that readers will leave feeling inspired after reading her books.
“The goal is for children to see themselves reflected in history, to see themselves reflected in literature, and to recognize that they too can use the gifts that they have to create the lives that they want, that there are resources, that there are people that are here to support them and to encourage them.”