|Special Boards and Commissions: Equal Rights Commission Bibliography|
This is a brief bibliography of articles, books and oral histories documenting the Civil Rights movement in Nevada. It is not intended to be a complete listing of resources and in particular doesn’t include primary source records in the Nevada State Archives. For a listing of State Archives materials see State Archives Governors' Records of Equal Rights-Related Topics.
Bracey, Earnest N. “Anatomy of the Second Baptist Church: The First Black Baptist Church in Las Vegas,” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 43 (Fall 2000): 201-213.
________. “The Moulin Rouge Mystique: Blacks and Equal Rights in Las Vegas.” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 39 (Winter 1996): 272-288. The story of the first major interracial hotel-casino in Las Vegas opened in 1955.
Coray, Michael S. “African-Americans in Nevada.” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 35 (1992): 239-257. During 1860-1940, African-Americans comprised less than 1% of Nevada’s population, but this small group created viable communities in which black cultural institutions flourished and from which emanated demands that blacks be awarded equal civil and political rights. Nevada’s African-American population then increased so rapidly during the next fifty years that these people accounted for nearly 7% of the population in 1990. After World War II, African-Americans readily exploited new economic opportunities that opened to them in Nevada, battled against social segregation, and easily won their fights to eliminate discrimination against them in the state’s public sectors.
________. “Blacks in the Pacific West, 1850-1860: A View from the Census.” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 28 (Summer 1985): 90-121.
________. “‘Democracy’ on the Frontier: A Case Study of Nevada Editorial Attitudes on the Issue of Nonwhite Equality.” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 21 (1978): 189-204.
Fitzgerald, Roosevelt. "Blacks and the Boulder Dam Project." Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 24 (1981): 255-260.
________. “The Demographic Impact of Basic Magnesium Corporation on Southern Nevada.” Nevada Public Affairs Review, 2 (1987): 29-35.
________. “The Evolution of a Black Community in Las Vegas: 1905-1940.” Nevada Public Affairs Review, 2 (1987): 23-28.
Hanchett, William. “Yankee Law and the Negro in Nevada, 1861-1869.” Western Humanities Review, (Summer 1965): 241-50.
Jackson, Lawrence. “Black Wrangler: Reminiscences of Lawrence Jackson.” Edited by Howard Hickson. Northeastern Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 77 (Fall 1977): 2-33. Recollection of a horse wrangler in northeastern Nevada, 1920s to 1950s.
Johnson, Ed., and Elmer Rusco. “The First Black Rancher.” Nevada Magazine, Jan.-Feb. 1989: 26-27. About Ben Palmer, who settled in Carson Valley in 1854.
Katz, William Loren. The Black West. 3rd ed., ref. Seattle, WA: Open Hand Publishing, 1987.
“Lubertha Woodward Case History.” Reno Humanities Exhibit.
McMillan, James B., Gary Elliott and R. T. King. Fighting Back: A Life in the Struggle for Civil Rights. From oral interviews with Dr. James B. McMillan, conducted by Gary Elliott, a narrative interpretation by R. T. King. Reno: University of Nevada Oral History Program, 1997. Memoir of a black Las Vegas dentist who moved to Nevada in 1955.
Patrick, Elizabeth Nelson. “The Black Experience in Southern Nevada.” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 22 (Summer 1979): 128-140; 22 (Fall 1979): 209-220. Interviews with Las Vegas residents which “document life in the community from 1933 to 1978.”
Patterson, Joan. “A Las Vegas Legacy.” Nevada Magazine, Jan.-Feb. 2003: 12-15. About Bob and Anna Bailey and their experiences as black entertainers in Las Vegas during eh 1950s and 1960s.
Pettit, Arthur G. “Mark Twain’s Attitude Toward the Negro in the West.” Western Historical Quarterly, 1 (Jan. 1970): 51-63.
Rusco, Elmer R. "Good Time Coming?" Black Nevadans in the Nineteenth Century. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975. (Blacks in Nevada.)
________. Voices of Black Nevada, Governmental Research Newsletter. Reno: Bureau of Governmental Research, University of Nevada, 1971.
______. “The Civil Rights Movement in Hawthorne, “ Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 2000 XLIII(1): 35-73. Subjects: Nevada (Hawthorne); Blacks; Civil Rights Act (US, 1964); NAACP; Civil Rights Movement; Discrimination Sawyer, Grant.
_____. “Thomas Detter: Nevada Black Writer and Advocate for Human Rights,” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 2004 XLVll (3):193-213. Subjects: Detter, Thomas; African Americans in Nevada; slavery as a racist institution; Civil Rights legislation (1866-1875)
Wilson, Mildred M. “Entertain Them … But.” In Nevada Official Bicentennial Book, edited by Stanley W. Paher, 400-401. Las Vegas: Nevada Publications, 1976. Black entertainers in Nevada’s racially segregated casino showrooms.
Oral Histories from the office of the University of Nevada Oral History Project
This is a listing of published oral histories of black Nevadans, listed in the order in which they were completed by the Oral History Project. Some had very limited distribution and only available through the State, academic, and public libraries while others were published and are more widely available.
Lubertha Johnson: Civil Rights Efforts in Las Vegas, 1940s-1960s. University of Nevada Oral History Project, 1988.
This oral history with Lubertha Johnson documents one black professional woman's service in the cause of civil rights. From the formative phase of the modern black struggle for equality in the 1940s, through the high tide of activism in the 1960s and early 1970s, Johnson remained in the vanguard of the movement in Las Vegas, Nevada, patiently chipping away at the local edifice of racism.
Woodrow Wilson: Race, Community and Politics in Las Vegas, 1940s-1980s. University of Nevada Oral History Project, 1990.
Woodrow Wilson was born in Mississippi and came to Las Vegas where he found employment at Basic Magnesium. He became a prominent citizen of the Westside [of Las Vegas], founded a federal credit union, was elected president of the Las Vegas NAACP and was the first black legislator in the history of Nevada (elected to the State Assembly in 1966). This oral history concentrates on the struggle for social and political equality by black citizens of Las Vegas from the 1940s to the present.
Clarence Ray: Black Politics and Gaming in Las Vegas, 1920s-1980s. University of Nevada Oral History Project, 1991.
The oral history of Clarence Ray is the third in a series intended to document the history of the black community in Las Vegas, of which Mr. Ray has been a member since the mid-1920s. The main source of employment for the relatively small black population during the 1920s and early 1930s was the railroad, but a number were also in business. Mr. Ray provides thumbnail sketches of many of the early black residents of downtown Las Vegas, formerly the Clark Townsite, and is particularly informative about "Mammy" Pinkston, Mary Nettles, the Stevens family, and the Ensley family.
No. 163 (book)
Hang Tough! Grant Sawyer: an Activist in the Governor’s Mansion from Oral History Interviews with Grant Sawyer, conducted by Gary Elliott. Reno: University of Nevada Oral History Program, 1993.
Despite Nevada’s persistently negative image and the reputation that the state was controlled by mobsters and associated with easy divorce and legalized prostitution, Grant Sawyer presided over a activist government and nowhere was that more evident than in the area of civil rights. Sawyer, 1959-1965, was the leader in a frontal assault against the most entrenched social and economic interests in Nevada. His dedication to the cause of civil rights and equal justice was the single largest contribution of his administration and his forgotten legacy to post-World War II Nevada.
No. 173 (Book)
James McMillan: Fighting Back - A Life in the Struggle for Civil Rights. University of Nevada Oral History Project, 1997.
James B. McMillan was born in 1917 in a small town in racially segregated Mississippi. In that year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that ordinances compelling residential segregation of the races were in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Gradually, over the next five decades, most of the legal foundation of racial discrimination in America was brought down, but McMillan's life is confirmation of C. Vann Woodward's observation that "there was more Jim Crowism than Jim Crow laws."