He Transformed His Home into a Civil Rights Command Center

sign that says natchez
Via Flickr
Adé Hennis
November 21, 2023

Sometimes the smallest contributions to society can have a large impact. In John Bowman Banks’ case, he welcomed people into his home with open arms. It became a safe space and gathering spot, but quickly evolved into a community space for organizing and strategizing.

John Banks was the first Black physician in Natchez, Mississippi, and he refused to remain the only. After Banks began practicing medicine in 1889, he recruited another Black doctor to join his ranks.

Dr. Albert Woods Dumas and Banks became involved in improving the conditions of the community. Together, they launched a bank in Natchez, helping to improve the financial status of the city and its residents. But that was only the start.

During the civil rights movement, Banks dedicated his house as the headquarters of the Natchez NAACP. The organization’s president, George Metcalfe, became a long-term resident. Activists around the country stayed at the house when they needed a place to stay, and Banks welcomed them with open arms.

Banks’ showed that we can all contribute to empowering our communities with what we have, no matter how small we think the deed may be. What contribution can you make to our community?

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