Tri-C History Professor a Medina Local Legend
James Banks reflects on his own history in cleveland.com feature
As a Cuyahoga Community College history professor and founder of the Crile Archives at the Western Campus, James Banks has spent his career chronicling important events in world and national history.
But the 78-year-old Medina resident also has his own stories to tell, and he told a few of them to cleveland.com as part of its Medina Local Legends series.
Originally from Gary, Indiana, Banks moved to Ohio to take a teaching job at Medina High School, spending two years there before leaving to pursue a master’s degree at Kent State University.
In 1966, Banks was hired as one of the first faculty members at the new Tri-C Western Campus in Parma, which occupied the old site and buildings of the former Crile Military Hospital until the current Western Campus complex was built on the site in the 1970s.
After several years, Banks began taking classes at Kent State again, pursuing additional advanced degree work. He took a job as a residence director at a Kent State dormitory, living in an apartment with his wife and infant son in exchange for free rent and meals.
Banks was living on the Kent State campus on May 4, 1970, when the National Guard opened fire on students, killing four. Among the dead was Sandy Scheuer, who babysat Banks’ son.
Banks earned a Ph.D. from Kent State in 1972, returning to Medina and to teaching at Tri-C. In 1994, he founded the Crile Archives and Center for History Education, which contains a number of historical military items including diaries, letters and uniforms. The archives and center are located in the Western Campus library.
In 2015, Banks co-authored the book Cleveland in World War II, chronicling the war’s impact on the city through interviews, pictures and newspaper articles.
Banks retired as a full-time professor in 1998, but he continues to teach at Tri-C as a professor emeritus and serves as director of the Crile Archives.
May 09, 2018
Erik Cassano, 216-987-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org