A.C. Banks

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In 1984 the City of Decatur acquired approximately three acres of land on McCartney Street, NW. This plot of land would be used as a playground bearing the same name, McCartney Park.  On May 20, 2004, the Parks and Recreation Board passed a motion unanimously recommending that a resolution be presented to the City Council renaming this park in honor of a woman who brought decades of service and dedication to the City with a powerful influence for good in the growth and progress of our community.

Athelyne Celest Banks devoted 42 years of her life to education, serving 29 of them with Decatur City Schools.  Miss Banks was a public school teacher, the first woman principal at Carver Elementary School, and a public school administrator. She served on many boards including the Decatur City School Foundation, Decatur General Hospital Foundation and North Central Mental Health Board.  In 1994 the Chamber of Commerce named her Humanitarian of the Year. In 2000 the National Conference for Community and Justice honored Miss Banks for her community contributions, and in 2001 Miss Banks was presented the Decatur General Foundation’s John A. Caddell Award.

Miss Banks retired in 1974 and always reflected that the daily contact with students was the most rewarding and satisfying part of her professional career and personal life. She was born in 1904 and lived 98 years in the same house in which she was born.  She never married and had no living relatives when she died, but for 98 years Decatur, AL, was her home and her pride.  And it was with pride that in 2005, during the Third Annual Minority Awards Banquet, this Northwest Decatur Park was renamed in her honor. 
Athelyne Celest Banks, recognized as a pillar of the community, has the Athelyne C. Banks After School Academy, the Decatur City Elementary School (Banks Caddell) and a city park (AC Banks Park) named in her honor.

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