It was supposed to deter any other blacks who might be tempted to stand up for themselves. But McMillan was not deterred. He got angry and stayed that way long enough to overturn the Jim Crow policies that once earned Las Vegas the name "The Mississippi of the West."
McMillan, a Las Vegas dentist and former president of the local NAACP, was born in 1917 in the actual Mississippi, where the whipping occurred.
The vet also had a daughter by marriage to a white woman. This daughter resembled McMillan's light-skinned mother, Rosalie McMillan, and these half-sisters were friendly with one another. One day Rosalie was in a downtown five-and-dime where her half-sister worked. The white woman's boyfriend walked in, mistook Rosalie for his girl, covered her eyes from behind and yelled, "Guess who?"
"She turned and slapped him," related McMillan in an interview in January 1999. "He got mad but apologized. Her half-sister got mad, and yelled, 'That's my nigger sister!' And my mother raised so much hell that the Klan came."
The McMillan book was written with the help of Gary E. Elliott, a history teacher at Community College of Southern Nevada, and R.T. King, director of the oral history program at the University of Nevada, Reno. They called it "Fighting Back," because it is primarily concerned with McMillan's lifelong struggle against racism.
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