Transcript of interview with Ruth Sweet by Bennie Baucham, February 7, 1977


Digital ID
Transcript of interview with Ruth Sweet by Bennie Baucham, February 7, 1977
Material Set
Baucham, Bennie;
Interview with Ruth Sweet conducted by Bennie Baucham on February 7, 1977. A native Nevadan born in the 1930s, Sweet worked for the State of Nevada, Division of Health. She discusses racism, public affairs, and government issues particular to Nevada.
Ruth Sweet is a Black woman who was born at Roach, Nevada. Her grandfather was a foreman for the Union Pacific Railroad, and the family lived at various sidings along the railroad and at his ranch at Las Vegas. Her father was Mexican and her mother Black. Ms. Sweet attended kindergarten, elementary, and high school in Las Vegas. One year, 1946, was spent in Ontario, California, where she attended elementary school. She has attended night classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She reminisces about her first experience with racism when her high school senior class was refused service in a restaurant in Las Vegas because of her presence in the group. She says that Black children were discouraged from taking academic or business courses in school because there were no job opportunities for them in Las Vegas. She laments that many Black youths left Las Vegas for opportunity elsewhere. Employed by the State of Nevada, Division of Health, Ms. Sweet discusses racism practiced by sanitarians. She has an interest in public affairs and is critical of the Planning Commission, lack of public transportation, and the scattering of public service buildings. She tells of early discrimination in housing and how it contributed to the concentration of Blacks on the Westside. Ms. Sweet presently lives in a bi-racial neighborhood in Las Vegas. Ms. Sweet comments that northern and southern Nevada are two very diverse economies, the cow counties of the north and the tourist-gambling oriented southern county of Clark. A rivalry has grown up between the two areas and Ms. Sweet remarks how that rivalry affects funding in southern Nevada. She says opportunities have greatly improved for Black youths and they no longer have to serve in menial jobs alone. The Nevada Test Site, she points out, has brought about job opportunities in the building trades and crafts. Her son became a skilled ironworker.
Identified Individuals
Identified Neighborhood
Neighborhood City / Town
F849 L35 S94
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
2154 x 3017 pixels; 7.18 x 10.057 inches; 11,890,688 bytes; 25 images
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Master File Quality
24 bit color; 300 ppi

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