%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
People & Life Ways
Riches, Ranching & Railroads
(1850-1900)

Educational Equality for All in Nevada

By the next biennial session Superintendent Nash was more pleased with the situation.  In the intervening years a State Supreme Court decision had reversed the situation, at least in the legal sense.  In 1871 seven year-old David Stoutmeyer sued the public schools of Ormsby County when they refused to let him attend school.  He was denied an education based on the color of his skin.  David's case went directly to the Nevada Supreme Court, and he won.  As School Superintendent Nash reported to the Legislature:


 

"It will be noticed that this report omits the usual statistics concerning Negro children.  In explanation of the omission, I am happy to say that, practically, the children of all citizens are now free to attend our public schools.  The statute yet discriminates against the children of colored citizens, but by decision of the Supreme Court, rendered in January last, the section excluding negroes was declared unconstitutional. . .

 

 
I believe that this ruling has been cheerfully complied with throughout the State, and that the privilege it secures is eagerly enjoyed by the hitherto proscribed race.

That such a decision has been reached is a matter of congratulation, inasmuch as it administers justice to a long suffering people, while it relieves the State from the stigma of seeking to perpetuate ignorance among a class of its own citizens."
 
 

Reader: Senator Joe Neal

Photo Credits:
1: Nevada State Museum
2: Nevada State Library and Archives