John Bankston was the former owner and long-time editor of the Grand Rapids Times, the city's premier African American newspaper. His photo collection of leading citizens, local residents, as well as national and international celebrities has become a massive archive of historic images. Considering this accumulated wealth was collected prior to PCs and content management, many of the photographs were never designated with named events, locations, subject matter or names of persons. So this is where you come in.


GRAAMA is collaborating with several local institutions - the Grand Rapids Times, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Lowell Arts, and the Michigan Council of the Arts & Cultural Affairs - to engage citizens in identifying some of the prized images. Can you name the place where the photo was taken? Maybe all or even some of the people within the photo? Or perhaps the occasion will come to mind.


Please take a moment and review the pictures posted below. If you're able to provide ANY information about any photograph contact us via the email or phone number provided. GRAAMA, in return, will list the given information for others also viewing the photos.


Thank you for your participation and here's hoping the images bring back golden memories of Grand Rapids and surrounding areas.

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Call GRAAMA at 616.616.649.3778, email, visit Facebook or stop in at 87 Monroe Center Street NW, Grand Rapids MI (just two blocks west of Division. One hour free parking in the Monroe Center Parking Garage on Ionia between Louis St NW and Monroe Center St NW.)

@ 2020 Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives


87 Monroe Center St NW

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

616.649.3778 o