Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history. ~~ Carter G. Woodson
“If you believe people have no history worth mentioning its easy to believe they have no humanity worth defending” ~~ William Loren Katz
1843 – 1844 Jacob Dodson accompanies John C. Fremont in Nevada exploration
1850 James Beckworth credited with “finding” Beckworth Pass. Over 10,000 travelers and many persons who contributed to the evolution of both California and Nevada received assistance from Jim Beckwourth.
1852 Nevada was a part of the Territory of Utah from 1850 to 1861; Utah made slavery legal in 1852. Termination of the owners contract in the event that the master had sexual intercourse with a servant “of the African race,” neglected to feed, clothe, shelter, or otherwise abuse a servant, or attempt to take him from the territory against his will. Some schooling was also required for slaves between the ages of six and twenty. Voting requirements, ““free, white, male” were eliminated in 1967.
1853 Ben Palmer made land claims of 320 acres and 400 acres on the west side of Carson Valley with his brother-in-law, DH Barber. The Palmer home was often used as a lodging house for travelers and new settlers in the Carson Valley.
1860 Ben Palmer listed as one the top taxpayers in Douglas County. He could neither read or vote.
1860 The Utah Census listed 50 blacks, 29 of whom were listed as slaves. For “Nevada Territory” (not yet officially declared), the census lists 16 freedman, 2 mulatto women and one slave in Genoa, T.J. Singleton. Nevada Census lists 44.
1861 The First Territorial Legislature limited voting rights to white men over the age of twenty- one, who met citizenship and residency requirements. That law disenfranchised the forty-four Blacks living in the territory, roughly one-fifth of the population recorded in the 1860 Nevada census.
1862 Slavery outlawed in US Territories.
1863 At the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, there were 3 slaves in the Territory of Nevada
1863 Black Baptist Church established in Virginia City
1864 (July) President Lincoln received a wire from Nevada: “Received constitutional amendment yesterday abolishing slavery our legislature ratified it immediately only two (2) dissenting [signed:] H G Blasdell Gov Nevada”
1864 Nevada’s Constitution Article 2 is the strongest anti-slavery clause of any state constitution in the Union.
1864 When Nevada was admitted as a state, as non-citizens Blacks remained disenfranchised under the Nevada Constitution
1864 Boston Saloon established (Wm HG Brown) in Virginia City
1865 (Jan 31) the US House of Representatives passes a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery, Nevada’s Congressman Henry G. Worthington casting one of the two votes giving a constitutional majority.
1865 On June 19, the African-Americans of Virginia City formed the Nevada Executive Committee to petition the Nevada Legislature for equal rights for “Colored Citizens of the State of Nevada.”
1866 February 1, Nevada Executive Committee requested of the Legislature that “colored people be allowed to testify in civil cases.” The petition also called for black access to public schools since they paid taxes. – See more at: http:// www.blackpast.org/aaw/ stephenson-w-h-c-1825-circa-1873#sthash. 3pHI8E92.dpuf
1867 (Jan 22) Nevada Legislature ratifies 14th amendment to US Constitution
1867 Ashlar Lodge #8 of Prince Hall Masonry organized in VC
1869 (March 1) Nevada Legislature ratifies the 13th Amendment.
1868 Ben Palmer listed as the 10th largest taxpayer in Douglas County. A successful rancher, he was partners with, H. F. Dangberg, and the Genoa postmaster and surveyor, C. P. Young, in the Douglas Consolidated Mill and Mining Company.
1869 (April) Wm Hall/JC Mortimor announce discovery of rock mining ledge in White Pine County
1870 Nevada Census lists 324 blacks in Nevada; 36 in Washoe County; 22 in Reno; 90 in Virginia City
1870 Lincoln Union Club formed in VC on Feb. 16, Dr. WHC Stephenson, Pres. Dr. Stephenson, the first doctor of African-American descent, practiced in VC from 1863-1870
1870 Elko Republican Club formed
1870 William Bird (barber) runs for mayor of Virginia City
1871 Nelson Stoutmeyer (laborer) sues the Boards of Trustees of three school districts to enroll his seven year old son, David.
1871 Thomas Detter, African-American in Elko, activist writer/publisher of “ Nellie Brown or the Jealous Wife” with other stories was the first black to serve on a northern Nevada jury.
1872 In a 2-1 decision, the Nevada Supreme Court finds that segregation for “Negroes, Mongolians and Indians” is legal if both parties have equal physical and instructional facilities. Given budget constraints, no districts could afford such construction or staffing and as a result children of color were to be admitted to Nevada public schools.
1873 (3.15) Charles Edwards and Freddie Bullock are on the Honor Roll in VCHS.
1874 Dumas Social and Literacy Club formed in VC.
1875 St John’s Lodge #13 of Prince Hall Masonry organized in Carson City
1875 Ben Palmer drives a herd of cattle from Seattle to Nevada to improve bloodlines amongst Nevada herds.
1877 (Dec 22) Sam Mills was the first African-American legally hung in Nevada (shot James Finnerty at Heeillechon on April 8)
1890 (Jan 3) Ratification of the 15th Amendment by the States complete.
1900 Census lists 134 blacks in Nevada.
1904 RPD Chief Leeper’s policy was to arrest and expel all unemployed blacks from Reno
1907 Under Southern Skies, a play about a “poor girl suspecting that there is a negro taint in her blood because of vague insinuations by Steve [who] sacrifices herself for her family’s sake…”, was playing at Reno’s McKissick opera house
1907 OH Hammonds passes the civil service exam and is subsequently sent to Reno to be the first US Weather Bureau station master.
1907 Henry Harris is the foreman of an all black crew on the Utah Construction Company’s ranch near Montello (formerly Vineyard Land and Livestock Co). His brother, Lige, is also part of the crew.
1907 Betherl AME Church organized; dedicated church on May 29, 1910.
1910 Census lists 513 African-Americans in Northern Nevada.
1910 (July 4) Fight of the Century (Jack Johnson v Jim Jeffries) The fight generated two pieces of national legislation: prohibition of inter-state transport of fight films and the still-in-effect Mann Act, most recently used to discredit Chuck Berry and Eliot Spitzer.
1914 (Jan 5) a University of Nevada professor named Frandsen gave a speech to the Reno Civic Health League on “The Law of Heredity and Eugenics”
1919 NAACP organized in Reno on September 17 9or 23)
1920 The November 6 Ely Daily Times, edited and published by future Nevada governor Vail Pittman, editorialized on “race equality”—”This has long been favored in religious teachings, but its consummation means nothing more or less than dragging the whites down to the level of the darks. If such mixture meant a blood enrichment and the evolution of a superior type of man in the form of a composite, objection could not be maintained, but with the Caucasian as the highest type and any infusion of other blood actually lowering it, such an adventure into eugenics would be a crime against civilization and mankind as well.”
1922 A white gambler who shot a black porter is convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 1-2 years in prison.
1924 Ku Klu Klan spokesperson W. M. Cortney/Ely, Nevada: It is our aim to make White Pine County, in proportion to its population, one of the best Klan counties in the state of Nevada.
1925 (7.9) the Reno Ku Klux Klan chapter held a meeting to elect officers. Also burnt crosses on Peavine while initiating 2000 men
1925 (Oct 25) Ku Klux Klan burned four crosses (one at UNR, one at Sparks, one on Virginia and one on a raft in the Truckee River near Wingfield Park).
1932 Other black groups had gradually formed such as a Citizens Labor Protection Association, a Roosevelt Club
1934 Paul R. Williams designs Luella Garvey House in Reno
1935 Reno Bethel AME organized
1937 Monument erected at Beckwourth Pass to honor James Beckworth who located the route over the Sierras. (May 23)
1939 Nevada Assembly rejects AB 88 which would have mandated equal rights in Nevada
1939 Paul R Williams designs First Church of Christ, Scientist in Reno
1940 Marion Motley (#41 Retired as sensational half back for the Cleveland Browns) enrolls at UNR; becomes the first to break the race barrier and the only Nevada athlete in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1941 Reno City Council protests AME Congregation purchase of Dania Hall. The District Court is petitioned and grants congregation permission to borrow $ 5000 on July 10 for refurbishing of the Bell Street church which reopened on August 16, 1941.
1942 Bill Bailey opens the Harlem Rooms on East 6th Street in Reno
1943 (3.19) in the Reno USO Council held a meeting to decide what to do after the owner of a building rented for a USO center for African American soldiers cancelled the rental agreement, returned the rent check, and told Mayor Froehlich he had received complaints from nearby property owners.
1945 NACCP Chartered in Reno by Alice and Alfred Smith
1947 AB5, outlawing racial discrimination in public accommodations referred to committee on Social Welfare where it dies.
1949 (Feb 8) in the Nevada Assembly defeated a measure sponsored by Assemblyman Don Crawford of Washoe County to outlaw the poll tax; Crawford pointing out that Nevada was bracketed in the nation’s mind with the southern states that used the tax to keep African Americans from voting but James Johnson of White Pine arguing that in Nevada it was merely a revenue producer (also speaking against the tax were Archie Cross of Washoe and James Ryan of Clark)
1950 Census counts 4,302 African-Americans in Nevada
1950 Sarann Preddy obtains a gaming license for her establishment, the Lincoln Bar, in Hawthorne.
1950 The only place in Reno where a black family could legally go out to dinner was the Bus Station. All other restaurants in the city of Reno, including those in the casinos were “white only”.
1951 Leon Cowan begins teaching Navajo students at the Stewart Indian School, developing a culturally based math curriculum
1952 Bill Fong open the New China Club, touting multi-racial patronage
1952 Eddie Scott/Bertha Woodard found Reno/Sparks Chapter of NAACP.
1952 Stella Mason graduates from UNR (English)
1953 (Feb 8) Air Force officials, noting that there were no clubs in Reno that would admit African Americans, urged the Reno city council to approve a liquor license for Theresa King who wanted to operate King’s Lounge at 900 East Commercial Row (Col. Willard Walter said that when the old Reno Army Air Base was reactivated in 1952, the lack of facilities for blacks became a morale problem; Dr. Morse Little provided a character reference for Ms. King)
1955 Mineral County NAACP chartered (May 22)
1957 NV Legislature fails to pass civil rights legislation
1957 Segregation ended in Babbit Housing
1957 Nevada State PTA Convention is moved to the gymnasium of Hawthorne Middle School due to discrimination practices of the El Cap and other members of the Hawthorne business community.
1958 Reno judge declares miscenigation laws unconstitutional; follwed by the Nevada Legislature in 1968.
1959 Miscegenation laws repealed by NV State Legislature
1959 The Reno Sentinel debuts, Ruth Giles Jones, editor
1959 (Sept 13) Nevada AFL-CIO adopts resolution rejecting discrimination in services for the * Squaw Valley Olympics.
1959 Reno-Sparks Branch of NAACP petitions city/county governments as well as the Governor and houses of the Legislature to endorse by resolution the principle of equality in places of public accommodations.
1959 Nevada Legislature repeals ban on interracial marriage (1959 NV St Chap 193 at 216) (January 21)
1959 NV Legislation passes bill prohibiting discrimination in procurement (Ch 126@137)
1959 Nevada State AFL-CIO adopts resolution to “oppose discrimination that might blight the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play at the 1960 Winter Olympics”
1959 Governor Sawyer proclaims February 8-15 Negro History Week (Feb 11)
1960 Squaw Valley demonstrations
1960 FW Woolworth Protest
1961 200 African-Americans march in Carson City; first time protesters, picket/march in state capitol
1961 Sit-in at Overland Cafe
1961 200 March in downtown demonstration
1961 Negroes barred from a breakfast sponsored by Women’s Democratic Club of Hawthorne, US Senator Howard Cannon, guest speaker (Oct 31)
1962 NAACP leaders meet at El Cap: Donald M Clark, Bob Davis, Lee Jones, Charles Kellar, Geo Mc Neal, Eddie Scott, Rev. Prentiss Walker, Joe Williams, Ulysses Woodard
1963 Helen Westbrook heads Meals on Wheels
1964 Robert E. Houston become the first black Police Officer in Reno
1964 William C Webb becomes Pastor to Second Baptist Church 2@$35/week
1965 Nevada Supreme Court orders admission of Charles Kellar to State Bar
1965 Nevada Civil Rights Act (NRS Ch 352 at 689)
1967 April 11 at the urging of Governor Paul Laxalt, the Nevada Athletic Commission joined the blacklist of Muhammad Ali, cancelling a Muhammad Ali/Floyd Patterson bout it had previously approved, with Laxalt claiming his reason was that he thought a second Patterson/Ali matchup would be a poor fight.
1967 Mustang builds a separate trailer for blacks.
1968 Human Relations Action Council formed at UNR; Black Student Union organized
1968 Poor People’s March in Reno
1968 LeRoy Badie chairs the action committee for the “instant park” (Pat Barker Park created from 7:35 a.m. on July 17 to noon on July 9.
1969 Ben Hazard becomes the first African-American faculty member at UNR (Art). Later becomes Director of Oakland Museum.
1969 Kiah Lumpkin opens the Squeeze Inn (his chili was designated best in the world * by Charles Bronson). Kiah was the first black Sertoman in Reno.
1971 Cloyd Phillips becomes Executive Director of CSA (Community Service Agency)
1971 Charles E. Wright becomes Nevada’s first black Police Chief in Carlin
1971 Housing discrimination outlawed by Nevada Legislature
1971 Jesse Hall becomes first black principal for Washoe County School District.
1972 Dr. Michael Corey founds UNR’s first Ethnic Studies program
1972 Richard E. Wyatt becomes the first black Highway Patrol officer and in 1974, becomes the first black to be hired by Adult Parole and Probation.
1972 Helen Westbrook helped establish Nevada’s first “Meals on Wheels” Nutrition Program for Seniors.
1974 David Dean opens law practice in Reno
1974 Luther Mack opens his first McDonalds
1976 Beazley v Davis, seminal case regarding child custody in bi-racial family
1976 “Butterfly” (Samuel) Gibson pickets US Courthouse in Reno protesting for protecting SBA in repeal of business loan
1977 Ada Taylor becomes Director of Special Programs/Academic Skills Center at UNR
1977 Bishop Divine Ruth Turner organized first Black Beauty Pageant in Northern NV
1979 Evelyn Mount starts her food pantry
1979 Buckaroo Lawrence Jackson of Elko died…..he was” not the fabled cowboy who drew sixgun with lightening speed, but was the honest-to-goodness rawhider who spent long muscle-bruising days in a hard saddle and got his guts mixed up every morning before his horse settled down to a day’s work.” Jackson came to Elko in 1921.
1980 Bill Moon becomes member of the Reno Planning Commission
1980 Willie Washington initiates suit when Reno RFD throws out applications from potential black firefighters.
1982 Onie Cooper prevails in a case alleging prejudicial actions within State Personnel (Cooper v Department of Administration 558 F.Supp 244)
1984 (Sept) Bill Bennett, Greg Claiborne, Robert Feemster and Noah Livingston become Reno’s first black firefighters. They are joined in January of 1985 by Kevin Batton and Ken Dalton.
1985 Bill proposing MLK holiday passes out of Assembly; fails in Senate
1987 Willard D. Bennett becomes the Postmaster of Sparks.
1988 Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness founded.
1988 Brother Ignatius Foster becomes principal of Manogue.
1989 Richard Witherspoon becomes Postmaster of Gabbs.
1989 First MLK Dinner in Reno (NNBCAS)
1990 Debra Feemster named principal of Lincoln Park Elementary school
1990 Dr. Harrison Bass Jr, performs the first surgery of removing gall bladder and appendix at the same time in Nevada
1990 Delores Feemster inducted into Women’s Hall of Fame
1991 Bernice Mathews elected to Reno City Council
1991 VC Charles Sands American members of the Reno Fire Department
1992 Reverend William C. Webb awarded UNR Presidents Medal “for outstanding contributions to the university”
1993 Karl Armstrong becomes first African-American Deputy Attorney General
1993 October – Cornucopia Magazine debuts under the efforts of Ceola Davis and Barbara Cheathon; becomes EnSoul, now archived at UNR Special Collections.
1994 Bernice Mathews elected to Reno City Council; when she moved on to the Nevada State Senate, her daughter, Aileen Martin completed her term.
1998 Ken Howard appointed to Reno Municipal Court by Reno City Council
1999 Peggy Jean Livingtson awarded the Konze prize winner as Ms. Nevada Senior America
1996 Our Story, Inc. founded by Kenneth B. Dalton
2001 (June 12) Bethel AME Church listed on the National Register of Historic Places
2001 Elaine M Brannon, Jane Moon, and Quilistine Washington-Walker incorporate the Reno/Sparks Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club.
2006 Reno dedicates the Westbrook Community Center in Black Springs
2006 (May 3) Michael Douglas sworn in as Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court
2007 Carson City resident, Charles Adams hosts Presidential Candidate Barak Obama in the candidate’s only Northern Nevada appearance
2008 Christine Jones Brady becomes first African-American Deputy Public Defender
2009 In April Pastor Luther DuPree was appointed the first Black African American Bishop in the Churches of God in Christ in Northern Nevada.
2011 Legislature passes NRS 2236.033 stating the Governor shall annually proclaim June 19 to be “Juneteenth Day” in the State of Nevada to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the United States. (May 12)
2011 Michael L. Douglas selected as Chief Justice at Supreme Court
2013 (Nov 15) Ondra Berry becomes Brigadier General of Nevada National Guard
2014 Dr. Angie Taylor named to Washoe County School Board; Traci Davis appointed interim Superintendent of WCSD
Locally, there are many first’s for blacks in our community. Besides Manuel Gray, being the founder of the Hawthorne NAACP; Janet Jones was the first black student to run for Miss Mineral County as was first runner-up; Barbara Harnage was the first black woman to hold the District and State offices of School Board President from Mineral County and Oliver L. Wert was the first black man to be appointed by the Governor of Nevada to represent Mineral County on the CETA board and NAACP President.