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Casino WomenCourage in Unexpected Places$
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Susan Chandler and Jill B. Jones

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450143

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450143.001.0001

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“I’ll Always Love the Union”

“I’ll Always Love the Union”

Chapter:
(p.47) 4 “I’ll Always Love the Union”
Source:
Casino Women
Author(s):

Susan Chandler

Jill B. Jones

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801450143.003.0004

This chapter tells the stories of African American women who came to Las Vegas in search of employment. Black Southerners had been making their way across the desert to Las Vegas since the early 1940s when jobs for African Americans first opened in numbers. By 1970, 14,000 African Americans lived in Las Vegas, up from 165 in 1940, and they were key to the city's rising economy. Black Southerners, however, quickly discovered the city's downside. Aside from the intense desert heat, Las Vegas was a Jim Crow town, and life was divided white and black, rich and poor as completely as it had been in the South. But there was work and plenty of it. Women found jobs in the hotels, restaurants, casinos, and, as always, private homes. Some made their way to the one place that provided entry to casino jobs: the Culinary Union hiring hall. While a union was new to nearly all the African American women, fighting back and overcoming were not. And in the 1970s the civil rights movement was never far from the women's minds.

Keywords:   African Americans, casino workers, Black Southerners, Culinary Union, casino employment, civil rights movement, union workers, labor unions

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