Guide to the Donald M. Clark Collection
- Digital ID
- Guide to the Donald M. Clark Collection
- Biographical Sketch/ Organizational History: There is little information publicly available regarding the life of Reverend Donald Clark. According to Reverend Clark, “the papers should speak for themselves. My life has nothing to do with them.” Any attempts to contact Reverend Clark about his past have been met with futility, in Black Steps in the Desert Sand, author Everett Louis wrote, “to this day he [Donald Clark] remains steadfast in his refusal to accept public recognition for his pioneering activities that have contributed so mightily to black progress in Nevada.”; After some time in the Army, Reverend Clark moved to Las Vegas from the south in 1952. As soon as he arrived, Reverend Clark began working towards integration and improving the black community (“Westside”). As an assistant pastor, Reverend Clark became a strong voice in Las Vegas.; When something needed to be done, Reverend Clark always seemed available. Not only did he become an active spokesperson for integration in Las Vegas, he even helped to delivery dairy products to impoverished families on the Westside. His firm stance on equal rights lead him to the NAACP, where he worked with James McMillan and Charles West to lobby Grant Sawyer and other public figures to initiate integration in Las Vegas.; In 1961, Reverend Clark became the president of the local branch of the NAACP. During his time as president, he worked with other members to continue the integration effort, especially in the classroom. Furthering his work in the community, Reverend Clark became a part of the Economic Opportunity Board of Clark County to develop projects to help those in need. In 1967 he was appointed Chairman of Operation Independence, a multifaceted program that provided free legal aid, day care and head start, transportation, job placement and professional training.; Although Reverend Clark believes that he is of little importance in the history of Las Vegas, his manuscript collection tells a different story. Continuing a lifelong commitment of supporting his community, Donald Clark is a major factor in the growth of North Las Vegas. The manuscript collection of Reverend Donald M. Clark is an invaluable piece of black history in Las Vegas. Similar to his colleagues Dr. Charles West, Woodrow Wilson, and Dr. James McMillan, Reverend Clark played a major role in the development of the black community in Las Vegas and the struggle for Civil Rights. The collection, comprised of materials ranging from 1953 to 1972, details Reverend Clark’s activities with community, the NAACP, and the Economic Opportunity Board. Types of documents in the collection include correspondence, organizational plans, newspaper clippings, and personal memorabilia.; The NAACP series offers documents relating to local, regional, and even national concern. Included are meeting minutes from the local branch and regional meetings, bylaws, and correspondence. While the NAACP series only spans 3 years (1959 – 1962), it contains a wealth of information regarding the organization. Despite this, there is little information regarding activities of the NAACP, such as the planned protest to integrate The Strip.; The most prominent feature of the black community series is the array of newspaper clippings. The clippings date from 1953 to 1972 and can be viewed as a narrative of the black experience in Las Vegas during that time period. Unfortunately, most of the clippings are not dated, nor are the original sources listed. The black community series is further complemented by a myriad of documents pertaining to Civil Rights in Nevada and specifically Las Vegas. Some of the more fascinating, and perhaps still controversial, documents within this series are those pertaining to police brutality focused on blacks in Las Vegas. While the amount of materials in this series is limited, it does present a general snapshot of the time period.; Reverend Clark’s records of the Economic Opportunity Board comprise the most complete series of the collection. The Economic Opportunity Board (EOB), a non-profit group established under the Congressional Equal Opportunity Act of 1964, generated a variety of projects in Las Vegas. In it’s early years, Reverend Clark was a major force in many of these projects. Found within the EOB series are publications, correspondence, and organizational records. The Operation Independence program, which offered services such as day care, a Head Start Program (for toddlers), and legal aid to impoverished families, is a dominant element in the materials. This series dates from 1967 to 1970, however; as the years progress, the materials thin dramatically.
- Related Documents
- The manuscript collection of Reverend Donald M. Clark is an invaluable piece of black history in Las Vegas. Similar to his colleagues Dr. Charles West, Woodrow Wilson, and Dr. James McMillan, Reverend Clark played a major role in the development of the black community in Las Vegas and the struggle for Civil Rights. The collection, comprised of materials ranging from 1953 to 1972, details Reverend Clark’s activities with his community, the NAACP, and the Economic Opportunity Board. Types of documents in the collection include correspondence, organizational plans, newspaper clippings, and personal memorabilia.
- Donald M. Clark Collection
- Temporal Coverage
- DC Type
- For related topics and further information see the following collections: Clark County Economic Opportunity Board Collection, MS-16; McMillan Papers, MS 2004-06; Ruby Duncan Collection, MS 96-08; Perry Kaufman Collection, MS 2000-07.
- This collection is open for research. For permission to reproduce or publish from this collection, please contact the Director of Special Collections.
- Digital Publisher
- University of Nevada Las Vegas
- Digital Collection
- Master Extent
- 2 record storage cartons (approx. 2 linear feet)
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