Mercedes Banks was born on November 29, 1933, to the union of Joseph T. and Helen Banks in New Orleans, Louisiana. During her childhood her parents relocated in Alexandria, Louisiana.   

Mercedes was very bright, graduating from Peabody High School in 1952 and immediately enrolled in Southern University, majoring in junior elementary education. In July of 1953 she married Clayton Melvin Bullard and to this union a son was born, Clayton Melvin Bullard, Jr. 

Upon moving to Omaha, Mercedes continued her education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and received a Master of Science degree. In 1955, Mercedes was the first Black woman to be initiated into the Kappa Delta Pi Honorary Educational Society at Omaha University. As an educator, Mercedes excelled at Creighton University and the Omaha Public School (OPS) system. At Creighton University, she was Supervisor of Teachers. At Omaha Public Schools she was a Teacher, Supervisor of Student Teachers, Supervisor of the Title I Reading Aide Program, and an Assistant and Elementary School Principal. Indeed, her love for helping students was quite apparent.  

Mercedes loved the Lord, and was a faithful member of the Salem Baptist Church, where she thoroughly enjoyed singing in the Inspirational Choir and serving others beyond herself.  

On April 2, 1955, Mercedes was initiated into the Gamma Beta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated (AKA) and served faithfully for 67 years.  

Additionally, she was inducted into the Omaha Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, in 1987, and throughout the years, provided her talents to several committees, facets, and leadership roles, including being a dedicated Chapter President, serving two terms. The 15th Area Director, Margot James Copeland honored Mercedes by appointing her as the Area Arts Chair for the Central Area. One of her most notable efforts in programming was the “Youth Take Center Stage” program. This program featured talented youth who were violinists, saxophonists, trombonists, pianists, and vocalists. Mercedes felt that programs such as “Youth Take Center Stage” dispels the myth about parents, youth, and the Black community. Mercedes ultimately achieved Alumna status after devoting her time and talent to the community.    

Her chapter members remember her as a highly energetic person who always wanted to be involved. She was known as the thoughtful sister who would host the members and other Link sisters at her home with a spread fit for royalty. They grieve their loss by stating, “A link in our golden chain of friendship has been broken with the passing of our beloved Link Sister, Mercedes Bullard. 

Mercedes was preceded in death by her parents, Helen Banks, and Joseph T. Banks; Brother, Alvin Batiste; Father-in-law, Elmer Bullard; and mother-in-law, Bessie Kennedy Bullard Ball. 

She leaves to cherish, her son, Clayton Melvin Bullard, Jr.; Granddaughter, Lavasia Bullard; Lavasia’s mother, Sheila Pulliam; Brother-in-law, Nelson Ball, II; Special friends, Charles Bowles and Frankie Williams; Bonus daughters, Tyshae Lewis and Tyshae’s son, LaVar; Cheryl Bowles and bonus granddaughter, Chantia Bowles. 

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Pranjal Doorwar