Personal data for Ruby Duncan


Digital ID
Personal data for Ruby Duncan
Birth Date
Place of Birth
County of Birth
State of Birth
Country of Birth
United States of America
Home Town
HT County
HT State
HT Country
United States of America
Community Affiliation
Material Set
The 1970s Welfare Rights story of Las Vegas would not be complete without the narrative of Ruby Duncan. Ruby’s life story began in the backwoods of Louisiana near Ivory Plantation, where she and other family members would work. Though her family was poor and her parents were dead before she was four years old, Ruby’s early life was nurtured by caring relatives. When one of her aunts moved to Las Vegas in the early 1950s, they insisted on her following them. Las Vegas life promised better wages and a fresh start for Ruby. She had no formal education past the 9th grade, plus she was a teen mother as a result of a rape. Though she willingly worked menial jobs, life was not that easy. During this two-session interview, she shares details of her employment history and the hardship of having to depend on public assistance to make ends meet. In Las Vegas, she also found the love of a husband with whom she had a family and her voice as a community leader. Ruby’s intellect and passion for fairness and justice made her a natural leader. Others looked to her to lead them and she describes how she became an active leader in the Welfare Rights Movement. Her relentless concern for the health and welfare of poor people in the Las Vegas community resulted in Operation Life, where she was executive director until 1990. Operation Life was responsible for creating a library, a medical clinic and jobs program.
Link to Interview Transcript
Link to Interview Audio Clip
Selected Photographs
F850 N4 D82 2012
Original Collection
Original Date (interview)
Alternative Date
2/13/2007 and 3/2/2007
Subject (FAST)
Graphic Elements (TGM)
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 from the University Libraries. For further information please contact Digital Collections:
Digital Publisher
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Digital Collection

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