National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Reno-Sparks Branch Records
Scope and Contents
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Reno-Sparks Branch Records includes typical administrative records such as minutes, financial documents, and membership rolls. In addition the series documents the status of racial discrimination in the Reno-Sparks area through the varied surveys and reports on housing, education, public dining and sleeping accommodations, and enfranchisement. One file is of special interest, as it documents the Mary Rucker case, in which Miss Rucker was asked by security at the Primadonna Club to leave because "her kind" was not wanted in that club. There are also some reports from the Nevada Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, documenting civil rights violations and discrimination in Nevada. The clipping files also constitute a substantial source of information on civil rights in Reno and Sparks.
Just as the activities of SURE paralleled those of the NAACP, so too, did their records. There are some minutes and a set of bylaws and constitution (unfortunately, undated), as well as a substantial number of public accommodation survey forms and report. SURE sponsored several rallies and meetings in 1960 and 1961, which are chronicled through letters and flyers in Series 2, and clippings in Series 1.
Series 3, the national material from NAACP, also documents west coast civil rights concerns through annual reports of the West Coast Region. In addition, this series contains general material about the civil rights movement and the efforts to end discrimination throughout the U.S.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 and is the largest civil rights organization in the United States. Membership is open to everyone whatever their race, color, faith, or national origin. The NAACP goal is to eliminate racial discrimination and segregation, working through the courts and Congress. The NAACP, Reno-Sparks Branch, was established in 1945 by Alice L. and Alfred O. Smith. Its jurisdiction covered most of northern Nevada, with another NAACP branch located in Las Vegas. The Reno organization was also affiliated with the Pacific Coast Region of the NAACP.
Another organization worked parallel and in conjunction with the Reno-Sparks NAACP. The Society to Underwrite Racial Equality (SURE) was headquartered in Reno with jurisdiction over the state of Nevada. SURE believed that discrimination based upon prejudice should be abolished and that every person should be accepted on individual merit. To that end, members of SURE dedicated themselves to arousing public concern regarding moral responsibility, enlisting the cooperation of community leaders and elected officials to their cause, proposing and supporting legislation to protect human rights, and investigating conditions adverse to racial equality. SURE seems to have been active from 1959-1961; many of the members of SURE were active in the NAACP and vice versa.
1 Linear Feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
The collection contains administrative records such as minutes, financial documents, and membership rolls for The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Reno-Sparks Branch and The Society to Underwrite Racial Equality (SURE). In addition the series documents the status of racial discrimination in the Reno-Sparks area through the varied surveys and reports and materials from the national NAACP organization (1951-1965).
Arranged in the following series: 1) NAACP Reno-Sparks Administrative Records; 2) SURE Records; 3) NAACP National Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Russell G. Benedict circa 1963.
Photographs transferred to the Special Collections photographic archives as collection UNRS-P1988-31.
- African Americans -- Nevada
- Bailey, William, 1903-
- Benedict, Russell G. (Creator)
- Civil rights -- Nevada -- History
- Colley, Nathaniel Sextus, 1918-
- Minorities -- Nevada
- Minutes (Records)
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Reno-Sparks Branch
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. West Coast Region (Creator)
- Nevada -- History
- Primadonna Club
- Race discrimination -- California
- Race discrimination -- Nevada
- Rucker, Mary
- Society to Underwrite Racial Equality
- United States Commission on Civil Rights. Nevada Advisory Committee (Creator)
- Guide to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Reno-Sparks Branch Records
- Susan Searcy
- January 1999
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA