Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities

Great Granddaughter of Booker T. Washington in Tuskegee on November 6

Great Granddaughter of Booker T. Washington in Tuskegee on November 6

Mark Price, a junior at Auburn University, is participating in the Appalachian Teaching Project, and he recently interviewed Robin Banks on her upcoming talk on the character and legacy of her great-grandfather, Booker T. Washington. The free, public program will take place on Thursday, November 6 at 4:00 p.m. at the Tuskegee History Center, 104 S. Elm Street.

What were your goals in writing your children’s books?

“I know who you are.” This sentiment is a motto used by a truly inspiring individual – Mrs. Robin Banks. Banks’ repertoire of occupations all revolve around children. From a classroom teacher to a director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, she has thrived in the field of inspiring today’s youth with her character-centered messages. This made writing books inspired by her great grandfather’s life easy. Ms. Banks’ motto of “I know who you are” allows her to connect with children. She said, “unless you know the root of a student, you cannot teach.” It is evident in her books and her talks that her connection with the all children have lasting impacts.

What do you hope people will take away from your program at the Tuskegee History Center?

She wanted to convey the message that our character drives who we are. When faced with difficult choices, Mrs. Banks want to encourage children to do what is in the best interest in all. She continues by saying, “character has no ethnicity.” These sentiments are few of her character-building themes in her books and appearances.  

How do you think learning about our past can shape our future?

Learning more and more about yesterday’s heroes’ expectations for the future have motivated Banks in continuing Mr. Washington’s legacy. She asks, “when looking back at Booker T. Washington 100 years later, how would life be different for the American negro today?” These questions arise when looking at the past, and we can all learn to perpetuate these values by learning more and more about the people helped shape our lives today.  

What is one place in Macon County that all people should visit?

Tuskegee University in the morning time was Ms. Bank’s favorite place in Macon County. She detailed the strong oaks, the hallowed grounds, and the significance of the names in the cemetery. The story of Booker T. Washington transforming Tuskegee from a desolate area of red clay into a thriving institution would make any listener’s arm hairs raise with joy.

What is something about Booker T. Washington that most people do not know?

Mrs. Banks mentioned three things that would deepen our knowledge of who Booker T. Washington’s character. He read his bible every day, he paid for civil rights cases without recognition for his contributions, and he worked extensively to improve the lives of black people in West Africa after the Civil War. Still today, Robin Banks continues to learn more about her great grandfather’s enduring legacy.



Last Updated: November 05, 2014