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Audio clip from interview with Hermina Washington, March 2, 2013

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Download ohr000761.mp3 (audio/mpeg; 3.47 MB)





In this clip, Hermina describes her family roots and early schooling in Las Vegas.

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Hermina Washington oral history interview, 2013 March 02. OH-02428. [Audio recording] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, N


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Tell me something about your parents. What were their occupations growing up? My father migrated here from the state of Arkansas. I believe he was the first individual in his immediate family that came to Las Vegas. We had other family members that had already migrated here. When he came here he lived with the Johnson family, my Uncle Tillman and Aunt Dorothy; that was my grandfather's oldest sister, her husband, and family. I think my father did a year or two of college, and then he came here. He kept hearing that work was better out here. I guess it was because shortly after moving here he met a lot of people, and soon went back to get his parents and his siblings. How many siblings in your family? I had two brothers; one is deceased. I'm the oldest. Okay. Tell me about your early schooling here in Las Vegas, beginning with elementary school. Elementary school years were really fine. That was my foundation. I attended Kit Carson. There was nothing but educated black teachers there. I believe they were fresh out of college, and coming to Las Vegas from the East Coast. Some of them are still here and prominent, and some have moved on. To this day I remember faces of the students I attended kindergarten with, but I can't remember all their names. A lot of the children were from the Berkley Square area. My grandmother lived in Berkley Square. She bought her home brand new there, so I used her address to go to school there. I went to Kit Carson for kindergarten through second grade. My parents purchased a brand-new track home at that time. They called the area Delmonico, but I remember those homes actually being called something else; I don't remember the name now. I attended Jo Mackey from the third through the fourth grade. This was back in the mid-sixties to late sixties, and word out was that black children weren't receiving an adequate education comparable to children across the city. My mother had heard of another elementary school that was pretty good working with children. From the fifth grade, I attended Bertha Ronzone and then moved on to J. Harold Brinley for sixth grade. That was the first middle school - at that time it was a junior high school - that had a sixth grade. I was at Brinley from sixth through ninth grade. Then I attended Western from tenth to twelfth grade. Goink back to elementary school at Jo Mackey, what was the difference between Jo Mackey and Bertha Ronzone? Jo Mackey was one hundred percent black populated. Going to Bertha Ronzone was a different experience for me; the majority of students were Caucasian, and there weren't very many black kids. When I started Bertha Ronzone, I learned fast that I was behind, especially in math.