Katherine Bell Banks


Photo from Vailsburg yearbook 1973.

Born in Tennessee, the Banks family shared a home with the WEB Dubois family in New York before moving to Newark in 1922.

She graduated Barringer in 1929 and was one of the first African Americans to graduate Montclair State Teacher’s College. An early Black teacher in Newark, hired before 1945, firstly as a “permanent sub” at the “Senior High School”, because Black teachers could not be officially hired above primary level. 

She taught at Spelman College and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in France. She taught French at Vailsburg High School and became the Chairperson of its Language Department before retiring in 1980.

She was a member of the International Cosmopolitan Club and the Alliance Francaise. She was a docent at the Newark Museum.

At Newark Museum, Barbara J Kukla Papers, Newark Library


Katherine Bell Banks Papers

“Katherine Bell Banks” Star Ledger Jul 29, 2008

Vailsburg yearbooks, npl.org/yearbooks