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Gathering Reunites Longtime Friends..Women cherish community memories

May 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Community, Feature

It all began in January at the Martin Luther King 2011 Banquet, as several generations of Las Vegas residents joined to celebrate the birthday of an American icon.
At that gathering, Ruby Amie spoke to fellow Las Vegas pioneer Anna Bailey about the fact that, in recent times, they haven’t seen many of their friends from the “good old days.” The two quickly agreed to get everyone together in the spring.
As a result of their efforts, some of Las Vegas’ most influential women came together in sisterhood for a potluck at Bailey’s home. Among the names on the guest list: Amie, Ida Gaines, Brenda Williams, Verlia Hoggard, Sarann Knight Preddy and Dee Dee Jasmine. “We all got very excited about getting together — and it made it easy to do it casually, with everyone bringing their favorite food to share,” said Amie. “We reflected on the days back in the ’50s when I came to Las Vegas, bringing back so many good memories.”
Like pieces of a puzzle coming together to form a snapshot of Las Vegas history, the ladies shared some


Dee Dee Jasmin, from left, Sarann Knight-Preddy, Ann Bailey, Verlia Hoggard, Brenda Williams, Ruby Amie and Ida Gaines.

of their most treasured recollections. “I came here in 1959 and I have seen a lot of changes,” said Gaines. “Some of the changes have been good and some not so good — because I remember the Historic West Las Vegas community flourishing back in the ’50s and ’60s. Nevertheless, there has been some positive advancement that we never thought could have been possible. Now, we have an African-American woman judge and many other executives in the private sector in high-ranking positions. It is a reality now to have these positions if you are capable and prepared.”
Gathered on a bright spring day, the ladies arrived bearing such dishes as macaroni and cheese, peach cobbler, greens, brisket, salads, yams and ham. “Everybody is a pretty good cook and I know young women these days who can’t cook and I know older women who are not cooking anymore because they have done it for so many years,” said Haggard. “All of us managed to give our cooking skills and share them with each other. It was a good day to

Ruby Amie and host Anna Bailey.

share, care and be happy.”
Taken as a whole, the contributions these ladies have made to the state of Nevada set a firm foundation for the community’s growth. Still, Knight-Preddy believes some work remains to be done. “I came to Las Vegas in 1942 and I still see many things in our community undone,” she said. “We need to get busy and get involved, so maybe people can be elected to make positive things happen. I love what Brenda Williams shared with me in regards to the historic West Side School Alumni and all that is forthcoming … I have seen so many efforts take place in our community and I think this is really going to be it. I am still waiting for the ‘it’ to happen.”
Jasmine, who along with Bailey was one of the original lead dancers at the famed Moulin Rouge Hotel in 1955, said the gathering was a treasured moment. “I couldn’t put a price tag on this moment, and the sharing of photographs and information — it is invaluable,” she said. “I hope we continue to get together.”

Brenda Williams, from left, Sarann Knight Preddy, Ida Gaines, Verlia Hoggard and Dee Dee Jasmin share their thoughts on motherhood.

Many of the women who attended the potluck have children. In recognition of Mother’s Day, Williams shared her secret for being a great mother. “Train your children,” she said. “I think sometimes we love our children too much and give them too much, and we forget about the basics in the development for a good person. Give your children core values that they can build upon and stay positive in your words and actions.”
As host, Bailey was filled with joy by all the ladies who came together at her home. “After so many years and time that has gone by, it was so nice to get together again,” she said. “And it was a privilege to once again have this close girlfriend time. All women need that.”


One Response to “Gathering Reunites Longtime Friends..Women cherish community memories”
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