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Melvin E. Banks

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Information about Melvin E. Banks

Profile image of Melvin E. Banks

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Publishing Chief Executive
Publisher

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Sweet Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/15/1934
Birth Location:
Birmingham, Alabama

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Publishing Chief Executive
Publisher

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Sweet Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/15/1934
Birth Location:
Birmingham
See how Melvin E. Banks is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Publisher Melvin E. Banks was born in Birmingham, Alabama on October 15, 1934. Banks graduated from Parker High School in Birmingham in 1952, and from there he attended the Moody Bible College in Chicago, where graduated in 1955. Continuing his education, Banks attended Wheaton College, earning a B.A. degree in theology in 1958 and his master’s degree in biblical studies in 1960.

Following his graduation, Banks was employed by Scripture Press Publications, where Banks helped bring their products into Black churches nationwide. In 1970, Banks founded Urban Ministries, Inc., which produces Bible study materials for people in urban communities with an emphasis on the African American community. Over the ensuing decades, his company has grown to serve over 100,000 Sunday school and vacation bible school teachers across the country, as well as materials for adult education. Four of the videos produced by Urban Ministries have been honored with either Chicago Emmy awards or Angel Awards.

Banks is also the founder of the Urban Outreach Foundation, which conducts training seminars around the country. He also sponsors yearly conferences, and a number of notables, including Dr. Michael Battle, Rev. Floyd Flake and Jesse Jackson. Banks serves as a trustee at his alma mater of Wheaton College, as well as the Circle Y Ranch, which is a children’s camp. He and his wife, Olive, have been married since 1955. They reside in Chicago.

See how Melvin E. Banks is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Melvin E. Banks's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Melvin E. Banks lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Melvin E. Banks describes his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Melvin E. Banks talks about his mother's education and job as a school teacher in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Melvin E. Banks talks about his father and his parents' divorce shortly after his birth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Melvin E. Banks describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Melvin E. Banks recalls the neighborhoods where he was raised in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Melvin E. Banks describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Melvin E. Banks discusses a few of the unique dietary practices in the southern United States
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Melvin E. Banks talks about witnessing the evolution of music from the Negro spirituals to quartet music to gospel music
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Melvin E. Banks talks about his participation in church while growing up in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Melvin E. Banks talks about attending elementary school and Bible school in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Melvin E. Banks talks about being home with his sister and cousin during the week while his mother worked
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Melvin E. Banks recalls the end of World War II in 1945
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Melvin E. Banks remembers heavyweight champion Joe Louis
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Melvin E. Banks describes his decision to spread the word of God
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Melvin E. Banks discusses his decision to get baptized a second time
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Melvin E. Banks describes his experience at A.H. Parker High School in Birmingham, Alabama, pt.1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Melvin E. Banks describes his experience at A.H. Parker High School in Birmingham, Alabama, pt.2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Melvin E. Banks talks about his first time traveling outside the southern United States
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Melvin E. Banks describes race relations in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1940s and 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Melvin E. Banks describes his experience riding the bus in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Melvin E. Banks talks about his experience as a minority black student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois in the early 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Melvin E. Banks describes his academics and extracurricular activities at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Melvin E. Banks talks about attending Brethren Assembly Church in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Melvin E. Banks describes meeting his wife, their courtship and their decision to get married
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Melvin E. Banks describes his experience at Wheaton College and the professors who influenced him there and at Moody Bible Institute
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Melvin E. Banks compares his exposure to black history at schools in Birmingham, Alabama with its absence in his college education in Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Melvin E. Banks discusses the influence of Elijah Muhammad and Bishop Alfred Gilbert Dunston, Jr. on his realization of the Bible's connection to Africa
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Melvin E. Banks describes his decision to work at a white publishing house, Scripture Press, in Wheaton, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Melvin E. Banks describes how United Ministries, Inc. was founded in 1970
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Melvin E. Banks describes the initial years of operating Urban Ministries, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Melvin E. Banks talks about the strong influence of his faith during the initial years of business at Urban Ministries, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Melvin E. Banks describes the evolution of biblical material published at Urban Ministries, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Melvin E. Banks talks about changing the leadership of Urban Ministries, Inc. with C. Jeffrey Wright becoming its CEO in 1994
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Melvin E. Banks talks about the influence of Urban Ministries, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois on the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Melvin E. Banks discusses the evolving acceptance of biblical publications that portray African heritage
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Melvin E. Banks discusses how Urban Ministry, Inc.'s biblical study materials and curricula help address social issues in the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Melvin E. Banks discusses Urban Ministries, Inc.'s publications and materials that depict role models in the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Melvin E. Banks describes the publications and publication process at Urban Ministries, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Melvin E. Banks discusses the rise and fall of black publishing houses and the works of black artists and authors
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Melvin E. Banks talks about where Urban Ministries, Inc. (UMI) in Chicago, Illinois sells its materials
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Melvin E. Banks describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Melvin E. Banks reflects upon his life and education
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Melvin E. Banks describes the positive work atmosphere at Urban Ministries, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Melvin E. Banks talks about Urban Ministries Inc.'s annual conference for Christian pastors and educators
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Melvin E. Banks talks about his mother and sister passing away before having a chance to witness the success of Urban Ministries, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Melvin E. Banks talks about his mother and sister passing away before having a chance to witness the success of Urban Ministries, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Melvin E. Banks reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Melvin E. Banks reflects upon the future of Urban Ministries, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Melvin E. Banks talks about his wife, Olive Banks; the church they co-founded and his involvement with the Christian Circle Y Ranch summer camp since 1956
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Melvin E. Banks describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Melvin E. Banks narrates his photographs