Transcript of Interview with Ruby Duncan by Claytee D. White on February 13 and March 2, 2007


Digital ID
Transcript of Interview with Ruby Duncan by Claytee D. White on February 13 and March 2, 2007
Community Affiliation
Material Set
White, Claytee D.;
Interview with Ruby Duncan conducted by Claytee White in two sessions on February 13, 2007 and March 2, 2007. Duncan discusses her employment history and dependence on public assistance in Las Vegas, as well as her participation in the Welfare Rights Movement and Operation Life.
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.
Identified Individuals
Identified Corporate Bodies
Identified Neighborhood
F850 N4 D82 2012
Original Collection
Original Date (interview)
Alternative Date
2007-02-13; 2007-03-02;
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
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864,828 bytes
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