Laura Banks

drawing of the Davis School by Anel Acuña
drawing of the Davis School by Anel Acuña 



   Laura Banks was born in Barrio Anita in 1921. Su failia sembró un jardín. There were a lot of African American families y había muchas familias Latinos también. There were lots of Chinese families too. Había mucha diversidad en el Barrio. Everybody worked together. 
   Laura Banks quería mucho a Barrio Anita. Vivió con su mamá, su papá, y con sus hermanos y hermanas. Ella es más cerca de su hermana. Laura Banks always wanted to be a teacher. She started at the Old Spring and Dunbar schools because a long time ago African American children and Hispanic children couldn't go to school with white children. So they started out at Spring and Dunbar. Laura Banks loved school. She was always ready to learn and eager to read. 
   Laura Banks wanted to meet new people. She wanted to go to far away places and to experience the world. Familias Africanos Americanos, Chinos, y Hispanos no tenían mucho dinero pero ellos tenían muchas oportunidades para ellos mismos.

Laura Banks
Laura Banks

Laura Banks quería graduar del colégio. Ella enseñó tercero, cuarto, y quinto y también dedicó su tiempo a mejorar la biblioteca de la Escuela Davis. So after she left teaching she became a reading specialist and then she got into administration. 
   One of the most exciting things for her was when she got married to Jack Banks, and they became partners and opened up a barbecue business here named "Jack's Original Barbecue."
   Laura Banks era presidente del NAACP. She was also a community volunteer, and she was one of the board members for the YMCA. She has received many awards and civic awards. Ella trabajó en el United Way. She's worked at the Tucson Guidance Clinic, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, the Urban League,and numerous other positions.
    The biggest event that she remembers growing up in Tucson was when finally the laws changed so that all of the services in Tucson were integrated and she was able to go to schools, and the law was on her side because it was a big struggle here in Tucson for African American families.

I think that Laura Banks would say that the most important thing that she wants to leave young people is the ability to develop a goal. You've got to be able to look at yourself, look at your skills, and develop skills. Plan what you want to do with your life. Don't let your life just happen. Always have a plan. I think that's one of the most important lessons that she wants young people to remember. Always have a goal and never, never, never give up. 
   For all her hard work and effort they named a school after her.
-Information provided 
by Ginger Arzani 
Summary and Interview by Alejandra Benítez, Mercedes Cortez, and A.J. Arzani

   "Back in those days when I went to school here, if you were bad, you got a paddle. The principal could paddle you, and when you got home, if you were not a lucky child, you would get another paddling for having the principal paddle you! See that closet next to the stairs? Well, this one day I had behaved so bad they locked me in that closet, but they didn't check to see if I had matches with me. It was dark in there, and I was afraid of the dark, so guess what I did. I pulled down the paper from off the shelf, put it in a pile, and I put a match to it. I almost suffocated myself with smoke, and that taught me a lesson: don't ever start a fire in a room!!"

Student interviewers: Cristina Acuña,
Mariah Adkisson, Freda Rodríguez 
Family Night, 2002

   Mr. Tellez attended Davis more than 80 years ago. "One thing they had back then was water fountains outside. They had pot-belly stoves in every room. We used to go into the basement to get coal. We didn't like to go down there because it was too dark. They had no lights, only one room had one light.

Student Interviewer: Jonathan Confer 
Photojournalism Project, 1996


Barrio Anita resident and World War II veteran, Mr. Tellez.  1996 Photojournalism project
Barrio Anita resident and World War II veteran, Mr. Tellez. 
1996 Photojournalism project