W.H.C. Stephenson

School Segregation in Nineteenth-Century Nevada

One of the most contentious issues for authors of the Nevada State Constitution involved the education of racial minorities. In these debates, lawmakers grappled with the problem of a multi-racial population in a post-slavery society. Initially, they decided not to include minorities, principally African Americans and Chinese, in a universal compulsory education system. A Nevada Supreme Court decision in 1872, however, ended this exclusion and opened Nevada's public education system to racial minorities.

Lincoln Union Club

The Lincoln Union Club served as an organizational body for Virginia City’s African American residents during the peak of the Comstock era. Its mission and activities reflect both the remarkable optimism and confidence of African Americans in Northern Nevada during the 1870s.

Good Time Coming?: Black Nevadans in the Nineteenth Century

In 1975, Elmer Rusco (1928-2004) published Good Time Coming?: Black Nevadans in the Nineteenth Century (Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1975). To date, this remains the most complete and significant scholarly work on the history of 19th century African Americans in Nevada.

African Americans on the Comstock

African Americans came to the western Great Basin in the 1850s. Some were former slaves seeking freedom, while others were freeborn. All sought opportunity. Although the western environment did not have the same level of oppression as the East, African Americans encountered racism both from individuals and eventually from government. Nevertheless, most established prosperous lives and enjoyed the occasional open-minded freedom of the frontier.

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