Lubertha Johnson

Karen Wikander

When I first started working for Nevada Humanities I was tasked with creating an exhibit gallery, which, at the time, was a relatively new functionality on the ONE. I decided to tackle Civil Rights in Nevada. The inspiration was that it was almost February and I wanted to do something for African-American History Month. That said, I was also surprised to discover that we even had a Civil Rights movement in Nevada -- this was something that had been completely glossed over in school and the history is so fascinating, so compelling, and so significant that I wanted to share everything that I had found. In the gallery I included an image of, and a piece of oral history transcript from, Lubertha Johnson.

Johnson was born in Mississippi, but eventually ended up (after some time in Chicago) in Las Vegas in 1943.  I won't lie -- it was the amazing picture of Johnson that first grabbed my attention, but it was her history in Nevada that made her one of the activists whose story I admired and still remember clearly five years later.

The article on Lubertha Johnson was written by the estimable Claytee White, Director of the Oral History Research Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries.  I hope you enjoy Johnson's story as much as I have.

Las Vegas community activist Lubertha Johnson was born in 1906 on a Mississippi farm, and raised by her grandmother. She had originally planned to be a teacher, but due to the Great Depression and her father's ill health, she was instead forced to join her family in Chicago to help support them.

Click here to read the full article on the ONE.