- John N. Ingham
Banks, Charles (25 March 1873–1923), banker and businessman, was born in a log cabin in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the son of Daniel Banks and Sallie Ann (maiden name unknown), poor African-American farmers. Banks grew up in extreme poverty but was educated in the local public schools and later attended Rust University in nearby Holly Springs. Returning to Clarksdale, he speculated in land and cotton. After marrying Trenna A. Booze of Natchez, Mississippi, in 1893, Banks engaged her brother, Eugene P. Booze, as his apprentice, teaching him how to trade cotton and to work his general store, Banks & Co. In 1904 Banks and Booze resettled in the black-owned town of Mound Bayou. Temporarily leaving the merchandising business, Banks established the Bank of Mound Bayou, owning roughly two-thirds of its stock and serving as cashier as well as operating head. Several years later, in 1909, Banks and Booze founded the Farmer’s Cooperative Mercantile Company. Capitalized at $10,000, the firm, which Booze managed, sold reasonably priced goods to area farmers until, for a variety of demographic as well as economic reasons, it closed its doors in 1922....