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Being Black during the 1960s in Northern Nevada

The Adin’s, one of the first married interracial couples
Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 12:37 AM PST
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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) -Lucille Adin experienced segregation at a very early age.

“I told my mom one time we were out and I wanted some water and she said, ‘you have to drink out of this’ and I said, ‘Why? I don’t want colored water.’,” Adin explained.

For Adin, she said growing up in the 1940s she was able to identify that there was a clear division, between White and Black.

“White people ask Black people to work for them, to raise their children, cook their meals, and then they can’t socialize together, there is something wrong with that picture,” said Adin.

Born in 1939 in Florence, South Carolina, which was predominantly Black at the time, was all that Adin knew of. She then graduated high school and moved to New Jersey where she met her husband Leonard, a White Jewish man.

“The color thing never made a difference because it was the person, I have never really discriminated against anyone,” Adin said.

The Adin’s moved to their home in 1962. It is located in Sparks, where at the time was one of the first developments in the area where Adin said was not the most welcoming.

“When I came here it was known as the Mississippi of the West,” Adin said.

Black people were not accepted in casinos, but the Harrah’s Club was the first to allow her in because of her husband, Mr. Adin.

“You get a lot of people that look at you, they stare at you,” Adin explained.

Adin said she always knew that God had a plan for her, coming to the Reno-Sparks area was part of it. She then started volunteering at all of her kid’s schools, working full time in the Washoe County school district.

“Usually I was the only Black that was involved in these things and I wanted to break the barrier, the racial barrier,” Adin said.

After she retired she became even more active in the Northern Nevada African American community, she went from being the Vice President of the Reno-Sparks Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club to becoming NAACP president.

“Overall these years it hasn’t changed that much, things are not where they should be, not as bad as they were, but not where they should be.”

At age 81, Adin said it’s up to us now, to continue fighting for what is long overdue, equality for all.

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