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Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Banks, July 21, 1973

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Creator:Banks, A. E., b. 1895
Creator:Banks, A. E., Mrs., b. 1894
Title:Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Banks, July 21, 1973
Date:1973 July 21

Oral history interview with Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Banks of Helena, Montana. TAPE 1, SIDE A: 0 - 6 Mr. Banks came to Helena in 1917 from Alabama. Father a mechanic. Family background. Why he moved to Montana. Cousin in the cavalry at Ft. Harrison, Montana. He planned to attend Carroll College but didn't. 6 - 8 Lived in Billings for a while. Also stayed in Missoula for a while but there was no social life. 8 - 10 Attended the Southern Christian Institute in Edwards, Mississippi. Talks about playing baseball for them. 10 - 11 He worked at the post office with his cousin for a while and then worked for the Union Bank and Trust Company. 11 - 17 There were quite a few blacks in Helena when he arrived--many were from the Army. Two black churches in Helena. Many other towns in Montana had black residents. Other forts in Montana. Ft. Harrison was mostly black soldiers. 17 - 22 Recollections of black social clubs in the area. Al Walton was a black U.S. Marshall from Oklahoma. TAPE 1, SIDE B: 0 - 3 The Powers family of Helena were quite powerful. He doesn't remember any outstanding black families. Generally the blacks stuck to themselves. 3 - 4 He has one daughter who lives in Portland. He doesn't communicate with any other relatives. Other families in Helena. 4 - 5 Not very much in the way of black social activities. 5 - 8 Worked as a porter in a hotel. No blacks owned or operated hotels that he knew of. Mrs. Banks thinks the cold weather prevented many blacks from settling. 8 - 11 Mrs. Banks was born in Montana--her father was born in Germany and was brought back to Montana by a Montana family. Her mother was French. Her family background. 11 - 13 Most blacks in Helena were brought as servants by white families. Many blacks left during winter. There was no difference in social life between blacks and whites. Black businesses in town. One black newspaper called The Plain Dealer. 13 - 15 Joe Clark's Tonsorial Parlor and also did charocaty (dentist) work and massage work. More about Al Walton, the marshall. 16 - 17 Prominent blacks in Helena--she remembers the C.W. Dorseys; Gladys Alexander became an opera singer. Taylor Gordon, a black singer from White Sulphur Springs. 17 - 20 She worked checking wraps at the Montana Club. How they met. Black churches in Helena. 20 - 22 She thinks most blacks in Helena now work as bartenders. There is also janitorial work available although there are not many blacks left in Helena. 22 - 26 Generally the blacks voted for whoever they thought the best man was. Doesn't recall any blacks running for office. 26 - 30 Many blacks moved away from Montana. Job opportunities for blacks. TAPE 2, SIDE A: 0 - 2 His work for the highway department. 2 - 5 They don't know any blacks in nearby towns. She talks about why blacks don't seem to settle in the area. They knew some of the cavalrymen in Billings. No segregation of schools. 5 - 8 Limited contact with Indians. Legend of York, a black settler who came with Lewis and Clark. Pompey's Pillar. 8 - 16 They talk about their feelings about Montana and what their lives have been like. She likes the freedom of the West. He talks about his work at the Capitol Post Office. Cold weather.

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Subjects:Banks, A. E., b. 1895 | Banks, A. E., Mrs., b. 1894 | Walton, Al (United States Marshal) | Dorsey, C. W. | Alexander, Gladys | Gordon, Taylor, 1893-1971 | York, ca. 1775-ca. 1815 | African Americans--Montana--Helena | Oral history--United States | Family--History--Alabama | African Americans--Social conditions--20th century | Helena (Mont.)--Social conditions--20th century | African Americans--Employment--Montana | Automobile mechanics--Alabama | Mechanics (Persons)--Alabama | Cavalry--Montana | United States. Army--Cavalry | Cavalry pioneer troops | Pioneer troops--Montana | United States. Army--African American troops | African American soldiers--Montana | Soldiers--Montana | United States--Armed Forces--African Americans | Carroll College (Helena, Mont.) | Southern Christian Institute (Edwards, Miss.) | Southern Christian Institute (Edwards, Miss.)--Baseball | African American baseball players--Mississippi--Edwards | Baseball players--Mississippi--Edwards | Baseball teams--Mississippi--Edwards | Union Bank and Trust Company (Helena, Mont.) | Bank employees--Montana--Helena | Helena Post Office (Helena, Mont.) | Postal service--Employees | African American churches--Montana--Helena | Churches--Montana--Helena | African Americans--Religion | Fortification--Montana | United States--Defenses | Clubs--Montana--Helena | Societies--Montana--Helena | Social groups--Montana--Helena | United States marshals--Oklahoma | Powers family | African American women--Oregon--Portland | Women--Oregon--Portland | Daughters--Oregon--Portland | Entertaining--Montana--Helena | Amusements--Montana--Helena | Entertainment events--Montana--Helena | Recreation--Montana--Helena | African Americans--Recreation | Hotels--Montana--Helena | Hotels--Employees | Porters--Montana--Helena | Winter--Montana--Helena | Cold weather conditions | Weather | Helena (Mont.)--Climate | Weather--Physiological effect--Montana--Helena | Domestics--Montana--Helena | Helena (Mont.)--Social life and customs | African Americans--Social life and customs | Community life--Montana--Helena | African American business enterprises--Montana--Helena | Business enterprises--Montana--Helena | African American businesspeople--Montana--Helena | Businesspeople--Montana--Helena | Plain Dealer (Helena, Mont.) | African American newspapers--Montana--Helena | Newspapers | Joe Clark's Tonsorial Parlor (Helena, Mont.) | African American barbers--Montana--Helena | Barbers--Montana--Helena | Barbering--Montana--Helena | Dentistry--Montana--Helena | Teeth--Extraction--Montana--Helena | Massage--Montana--Helena | Masseurs--Montana--Helena | Singers--Montana--White Sulphur Springs | African American singers--Montana--White Sulphur Springs | Singers--Montana--Helena | African American singers--Montana--Helena | African American women singers--Montana--Helena | Women singers--Montana--Helena | Harlem Renaissance | American literature--African American authors | African American authors--Montana--White Sulphur Springs | Authors, American--Montana--White Sulphur Springs | Montana Club (Helena, Mont.) | Bartenders--Montana--Helena | Janitors--Montana--Helena | Cleaning personnel--Montana--Helena | Voting--Montana--Helena | Suffrage--Montana--Helena | African Americans--Suffrage--Montana--Helena | Job vacancies--Montana--Helena | Road construction workers--Montana--Helena | Roads--Design and construction | School integration--Montana--Helena | Public schools--Montana--Helena | Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806) | Freedom | Liberty | Equality--Montana | Helena (Mont.) | Fort Harrison (Mont.) | Lewis and Clark County (Mont.) | White Sulphur Springs (Mont.) | Meagher County (Mont.) | Pompeys Pillar (Mont.) | Yellowstone County (Mont.) | United States, Oklahoma, 35.007752, -97.092877
Collection:Black Oral History Collection
Institution:Washington State University's Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Contributors:Washington State University. Library. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Original Material:

Black Oral History Interviews, 1972-1974, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University

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For permission to publish, please contact Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (509) 335 - 6691.

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Forms part of online collection: Black Oral History Interviews Collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://content.libraries.wsu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/5985/id/91