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Oral history interview with Eloise Banks [electronic resource], 1971.

Creator: Banks, Eloise
Project: Black Journalists Oral History Collection.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :sound files : digital preservation master, WAV files (96kHz, 24 bit) Transcript: 41 pages
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
Full CLIO record >>

Biographical Note

Eloise Hardison Banks Griffin (1926-2008) was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1926. She began writing poetry at age three and graduated from eighth grade at age twelve. Banks attended Crispus Attucks High School and, after graduating at age 15, enrolled at Indiana Central College (University of Indianapolis), where she studied English. After teaching English and Civics in Indiana, Banks moved west to Phoenix, Arizona in 1950. In Arizona, she received her Masters in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and met her husband, Edward Banks, whom she married in 1957. Banks began teaching in the Phoenix Public School System, where she worked for over thirty years. In 1958, Banks and her husband founded The Arizona Tribune, a weekly African-American newspaper based in Phoenix. Upon her husband's death in 1969, Banks became the primary editor and publisher of The Arizona Tribune, which had an estimated circulation of 4,000 in 1971. Banks died at age 82 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Scope and Contents

In this interview Banks discusses her family and childhood, her education, her move to Phoenix, and the origin of The Arizona Tribune. More broadly, she discusses: the strengths and weaknesses of black newspapers in the United States; the struggle to find employment as a black educator; the economic strife of black publications; and the importance of a diverse readership. Banks mentions her late husband Edward Banks, including his move from Huddersfield, England to Phoenix, Arizona; his work as a photographer; their collaboration in starting a newspaper; and his death in 1969. Banks details her motivation to connect African Americans in Phoenix to national issues, as a member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). She concludes with a discussion of the Kerner Commission Report (Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders).

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