The biggest little struggle: Black activism in Reno, 1954 to 1965
by Miller, Geralda D., M.A., University of Nevada, Reno, 2009 , 122 pages; AAT 1478538
"This thesis examines the role of African Americans in the desegregation of Reno, Nevada in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Racist practices akin to the Jim Crow system of the South were prevalent in Reno, a popular city for gambling and quickie marriages and divorces. African Americans were denied service in public accommodations and discriminated against in employment and housing. This thesis analyzes the subtle racism that plagued the city and the political activism organized by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1959, with Reno in the spotlight because of upcoming Winter Olympics at nearby Squaw Valley in 1960, a small group of African Americans began a passive form of activism. The integration they experienced, if only for the ten days of the athletic games, was enough to spur them to continue their freedom struggle and engage in more active forms of protest, including picketing, marching and boycotting. Their activism resulted in the state legislature passing several pieces of civil rights legislation in the 1960s. However, de facto segregation did not end until the passage of a state civil rights bill in 1965 after the federal Civil Rights Act passed."