Jeanetta Scott – “I Remember When Blacks Could Not Walk Down Virginia Street”

Jeanetta Scott

Jeanetta Scott  Recently Jeanetta Scott, a long time resident of Reno, stopped by with an assortment of photos to share part of her story.

Shayne Del Cohen and Jeanetta Scott

At the age of nine Ms. Scott , then known as Jeanetta Vinson, arrived to Richmond, California with her mother Agnes Vinson in1946from Paducah, Kentucky for a vacation. While in Richmond Agnes Vinson metJoseph DuPree. Three months later thay came to Reno to marry and decided to stay.mother Agnes Reed and future stepfather Joseph Duprees desire to marry.They first resided in a room of a home (now the location of A-1 Radiator) owned by Ms Garnor on Second Street near Kirman, which was the only place blacks could stay.Their second residence was with Ms. Coffers in Sparks, Nevada near the railroad tracks. Later they moved to another area in Sparks, Nevada, near what is now known Second Street at the location of the Lincoln Arms Apartments, at the home of Ms. Perkins. There they rented a room. Ms. Perkins home was located onthe property of a local landowner. Ms. Scotts stepfather talked to the landowner who agreed to let them rent a chicken coop located in the fieldalong with theuse of an outhouse. “It was a big open field. Nothing like it is now. Pitch black at night.”  Her mom renovated it and turned it into a home. There werent to many places blacks could live. We had a very large garden, grew everything. “We raised chickens, rabbits and turkeys.

Jeanetta Scott’s parents, Joseph Dupree and Agness Reed in the garden

“When we first came hereblacks could’nt get nothing but day-work (cleaning homes), and later we started cleaning offices. One was on West Street where HarryFoots BusinessMachine.

Ms. Scott attended first grade at an elementary school on Pyramid Way. Soon afterward her parents purchased their first home on Bell Street around 1950 with the help of J. E. Sweat Realty, one of the only two realtors that catered to blacks at that time. They resided there for almost ten years.

Jeanettas mother and step-father separated sometime afterward and her mother purchased another property on West 6th Street in the early part of 1960. Mr. Dupree relocated to what some now know as Ms. Emmas on Ninth Street.

“What I remember about the Bell Street & 2nd is there was houses and a filling station where the Midtown Motel is now, and a Lutheran Church located where the funeral home is now.”

“I remember when First, Second, and other streets were pitch black. Some were dirt roads. Blacks could not walk down Virginia Street. They had to walk down Lake Street. You could not go into the casinos, the old Palace Club and the Golden Hotel Casino.After my children started going to school here they started calling itlittleMississippi. Got called out of my name many times and had to fight”.

Joseph DuPree, Jeanetta Vinson and AgnesDupree would occasionally visit the Salvation Army, Reno, Nevada for worship. They also visited the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ and the Assembly of God Church in Susanville.

The Salvation Army was on Sierra Street before you cross the railroad tracks. We were the only blacks that went to that church. At that time there no black baptist churchs. There were’nt that many blacks in Reno. The few you did see were now and then”.

Ms. Scott remembersthe downtown area had a Fenwick Paint Store, Sears and Roebucks, JC Penny, Crest Theater, Skaggs Drug Store located on Second Street, and Wigwam Cafe, to name a few. She also mentioned the Mayfair store (the area is now occupied by Circus Circus) and Food King, located at Valley Road and Sixth Street ( now Bavarian World ).

Black beauty salons did well. Elnora had a shop onLake Street in those days. Ms. Emmas first shop was on Valley Road and Sixth Street. Its that red house there on the corner. In those days you did not need to do a license to do hair. Peggy Hooks momma had a shop near Fourth Street and Valley Road”.

A Minister Crosby, along with other ministers, would stand in front of the courthouse and approach black couples and ask them if they wanted to get married, if so, he would take them to the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ to marry them”.

Ms. Scott attended McKinley Park School up to the 6th grade and then attended Central Junoir High which was located near Fourth Street and West. “I dropped out of school in the 9th grade at Reno High School and got married at the age of 17 in 1955 to Emmitt Walker. I met him over at the Bethel AME on Bell Street” Jeanetta Scott ultimately became the mother of Emmitt, Peggy Jean(now deceased), and Tammy. Ms. Scott has had various careers through the years with local employers such as Washoe County School District, Reno Travel Lodge , Mapes Hotel , Ponderosa and Harrahs.