ORVELLA CLEOTA BANKS. Tiny Orvella Banks (1913-1949) went on to big things with big bands. By age four, Banks played piano. She performed on KFAB radio as a teenager. As with many African American youth, she had educational opportunities in Lincoln, first with a private piano teacher and then at Hampton School of Music, but discrimination limited her employment opportunities. Denied enrollment in Lincoln's musicians' union, she joined up in Minneapolis, then played with Harlan Leonard's big band in Kansas City.
Photographs taken on black and white glass negatives by African American photographer(s) John Johnson and Earl McWilliams from 1910 to 1925 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Douglas Keister has 280 5x7 glass negatives taken by these photographers. Larger scans available on request.