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Williams, Rejoyce


Rejoyce Williams was born April 26, 1905 in Fordyce, Arkansas. She left Fordyce when she was 17 for Oceanside, California, with her husband and their two children. The family then moved to Saginaw, Michigan, and eventually had nine children, six of whom survived. In 1960, the Williams family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada for two reasons: their youngest daughter, who suffered from asthma, needed to live in a dry climate and Williams’ mother-in-law lived in Las Vegas.

As a member of the New Jerusalem Baptist Church and the Fordyce Club, Williams served and helped strengthen Las Vegas' black community in a variety of ways. As a domestic worker in the hotel industry, Williams participated in the historic four-day strike by Culinary Workers Local 226 that shut down most major Las Vegas hotels. During her years at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel (1973 - 1984), Williams' hourly wage rose from $28 to $45 per day. At the Hilton, she was accused of theft on more than one occasion when the thefts were actually committed by her immediate supervisor. Williams left the Hilton when she was injured on the job in 1984; in 1985 she finally received disability benefits only after months of rehabilitation and persistent re-applying.