Baker on Barbwire.TV, Friday, June 6, 2008, 2:00 p.m.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA INFORMATION CONTACTS:
LUCILLE ADIN, President
NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch 1112, (775) 322-2992
ANDREW BARBANO (775) 786-1455
ticket reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
rights legend returns to Reno this Saturday, 40 years
after sparking construction of Pat Baker Park memorial
to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Kuralt On the Road historic video will be a highlight
of the evening
Civil rights legend Pat Shannon (formerly Baker)
returns to Reno this Saturday to present living history
to the Reno-Sparks NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet.
Shannon Baker, center, during the "Instant
Park" construction in Reno, July-1968.
Pat Baker spearheaded the construction of a 1968 "instant
park" in Reno. She was motivated by the assassination
of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., earlier
By using her position as editor of Sierra Pacific Power
Company's in-house newspaper, she was able to rally broad
"SPP executive Jim Sale narrowed the time
frame to a weekend," she remembers.
"Leroy Badie, a resident in the park area,
signed on as chairman of the action group. Preparation
for the park took two months. The instant park became
the Pat Baker Park at the close of a marathon three-day
building spree," she notes.
nurserymen, an architect, residents from all over Reno,
men from the National Guard, boys and girls labored around
the clock for free," Shannon recalls.
"Work began at 7:35 a.m. on Friday morning, July
17, 1968. It was completed Sunday afternoon, July 19,"
bringing a boxfull of park construction memorabilia to
donate to the Nevada Historical Society.
She will also
present a five-minute video anchored by the late CBS legend
Charles Kuralt, who came to Reno to chronicle the
event for national television. She will also give an interview
for the University of Nevada oral history project.
The park area
fell on rough times in later years. In response to community
concerns, the City of Reno recently acquired several storefront
buildings which were attracting crime and bulldozed them.
A celebration of the park area's rebirth will be held
in August, led by a onetime skinny teenager whom Kuralt
filmed working on the construction. Lonnie Feemster
went on to a 27-year career at SPP, is now a successful
realtor and twice past-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP.
The Freedom Fund Banquet takes place this Saturday, June
7, at the Atlantis Casino-Resort-Spa Convention Center
in Reno. A no-host bar opens at 6:00 p.m. with dinner
at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are $50 each and a limited number are still available.
Immediate reservations are required and may be made by
Name, U.S. Postal Service mailing address, and day/night
phone numbers must be included. At this late date with
seating limited, all reservations are non-cancellable
and those not using theirs will be billed.
oldtimers are encouraged to submit photos, news stories
and any memories of the Pat Baker Park construction to
the NAACP for potential inclusion in a commemorative booklet
which will be distributed at the celebration of the park
area renovation in August. They may be mailed to P.O.
Box 10034, Reno, NV 89510.
Pat Shannon majored in journalism at the University of
Nevada, Reno. She worked as a copywriter at the Tyson-Curtis
Advertising Agency from 1962 to 1968, served as promotion
director at Carson Mall in 1966, Sierra Pacific Power
assistant director of public relations, 1967-1968, and
public information officer for the Nevada Employment Security
She currently lives in Montana. A sister resides in Fallon
and a daughter in Reno.
The Freedom Fund Banquet is the civil rights organization's
principal fundraising event. This year's theme is "Power
of the Vote," which will be the subject of the keynote
address by California NAACP official Alice
Complete information about tickets
and corporate tables may be obtained at renosparksnaacp.org.
The website also has photos showing the construction and
of Pat Baker Park and the complete
agenda for the evening.