Transcript of interview with Stella Parson and Reverend Claude H. Parson by Maurice R. Page, February 26, 1977


Digital ID
Transcript of interview with Stella Parson and Reverend Claude H. Parson by Maurice R. Page, February 26, 1977
Material Set
Page, Maurice R.
Interview with Stella Parson and Reverend Claude H. Parson conducted by Maurice R. Page on February 26, 1977. Stella came as a child to Las Vegas in 1942, while Claude arrived in 1952 at Nellis Air Force Base. As educators, the Parsons discuss the integration of schools in Las Vegas.
Mrs. Parson and her husband, Reverend Claude H. Parson, teachers and ministers, discuss their experiences in Las Vegas. Stella Mason Parson came to Las Vegas as a child in 1942 with her family. She attended elementary and secondary school in Las Vegas and the University of Nevada, Reno. She tells of her experiences with segregation and discrimination in Reno. Nevada elementary schools, secondary schools, and university were not then segregated, but she relates the indignities she suffered outside the classroom. When her family first came to Las Vegas, there was a great shortage of housing for Blacks on the Westside, and Mrs. Parson discusses discrimination practiced by bankers which prevented Blacks from obtaining mortgage loans. She describes the tent homes people were forced to live in, the poor streets, outside toilets, etc. Mrs. Parson notes that opportunities have opened up for Blacks. Now, as opposed to the past, Blacks are in the professions, and she discusses her teaching career. Claude H. Parson came to Nellis Air Force Base in 1952 and, shortly thereafter, met his wife-to-be, Stella Mason, who was a teacher. Parson narrates his efforts, after his discharge from the Air Force, to establish himself professionally as an educator in the Clark County school system where his wife was already employed. He describes the first experiment in Clark County of placing black teachers in predominately white schools. After a nineteen year career in Las Vegas schools as a teacher and an administrator, he realized a lifelong dream of becoming a minister. Reverend Parson tells how he started a church and the financial innovations he instituted. He recalls the difficulties his father experienced in the South in obtaining education and how his father, a man of little education, moved his young family from Alabama to New York state so that his children might have educational opportunities denied him. Reverend Parson notes the progress blacks have made in Las Vegas, particularly in the professions. He points out that it has been the government through the courts and legislation that has given blacks equal opportunity. He says blacks only need the opportunity to get their foot into the door. He describes the lack of housing for blacks on the Westside when he first came to Las Vegas and the difficulty people had then in obtaining mortgage loans. He tells how people through their own ingenuity provided new homes for themselves until the coming of government housing projects and bank financing. Reverend Parson comments on the TV movie Roots, praising it for its honest portrayal of the black man and his aspirations for freedom. He believes Roots has had a positive influence for good in America.
Identified Individuals
Identified Corporate Bodies
Identified Neighborhood
Westside, Jackson Street
Neighborhood City / Town
F849.L35 P37
Original Collection
Original Date (interview)
Subject (FAST)
DC Type
Genre (TGM)
Specific Genre (LCSH)
This material may be protected by copyright. Personal, including educational and academic, use of this material is without restriction; but acknowledgement of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries is requested whether the use is oral, web or in print. Commercial use of any portion of this material requires permission. For further information please contact Digital Collections: This document is an oral history. It is a spoken account of certain events and phenomena recorded at one particular moment and filtered through one individual's life experience, sensibility, and memory. As such, it should be considered a primary source rather than a final, verified, or complete narrative of the events it records.
Digital Publisher
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Digital Collection
Master Extent
2291 x 3177 pixels; 7.637 x 10.59 inches; 22,167,552 bytes; 30 images
Master File Format
Master File Quality
24 bit color; 300 ppi

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