Decatur, Mississippi native, Marjean Huddleston Bufkin describes her family’s three room home as having no electric lights, running water, or refrigerator, and a wood stove was used for cooking and heating. Transportation consisted of walking or a wagon. The first vehicle, a truck, was purchased when she was 10. Although the family of nine lived in poverty, she related that on their small farm they were relatively self-sufficient. Their cash crop was cotton that they sold to vendors in town. Growing up in a large household, Jeannie credits her parents for teaching her strong work ethics at the young age of 11 when she started picking cotton and pulling the corn stocks. Hard work and determination motivated her to graduate high school and come west looking for a better life. Soon after arriving in Reno in 1955, she learned about a job at Washoe Medical Center as a hospital’s nurse’s aide with a pay of 99 cents an hour. As a working employee at the now renamed Renown Regional Medical Center over 66 years later, Jeannie has witnessed a vast sea change in the way minorities are treated, both within the hospital organization but also, the entire community. She is now revered as the oldest employee that has ever been employed at that facility.
Highlight video to come.
Marjean Huddleston Bufkin was interviewed by the Nevada Women’s History Project on December 10, 2022, through a grant from the Estelle J. Kelsey Foundation.