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Alice Key

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Information about Alice Key

Profile image of Alice Key

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Activist
Newspaper Columnist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Chitterlings
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere
Favorite Quote:
Born To Serve.

Birthplace

Born:
3/18/1911
Birth Location:
Henderson, Kentucky

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Activist
Newspaper Columnist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Chitterlings
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere
Favorite Quote:
Born To Serve.

Birthplace

Born:
3/18/1911
Birth Location:
Henderson
See how Alice Key is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Community activist, dancer, and newspaper columnist Alice Marie Key was born on March 18, 1911, in Henderson, Kentucky to Louise and Malcolm Key. As a young child, she moved to Riverside, California with her family. She finished high school in Riverside and then went to the University of California, Los Angeles to pursue a degree in journalism. Her mother managed a coffee shop near the famous Club Alabama in central Los Angeles, California. Key met a girl there who worked at the Cotton Club in Culver City, California, who eventually persuaded her to dance at the club, too. She left school and danced for the next five years.

Key’s career as a dancer took her to New York where she worked at the Ubangi Club, and later, she spent six months in Europe touring with the Cotton Club Show. In 1943, Key ended her dancing career and started working as a writer for an African American newspaper, the "Los Angeles Tribune." In 1954, she moved to Las Vegas to take a job working for the "Las Vegas Voice." Not long after her arrival, Key and Bob Bailey started the first all-African American television talk show in Las Vegas, "Talk of the Town," which she co-hosted for several months. In the 1960s, Key became the public relations manager for the Nevada Committee for the Rights of Women, which promoted education about birth control and fought for reforms to the abortion laws in Nevada. After that position, she worked for the Economic Opportunity Board until 1971. In 1983, Governor Richard Bryan named Key as the Deputy Commissioner of Labor, a position she held for ten years. She became involved in political campaigns, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and founded the Barbara Jordan Democratic Women’s Club. When she retired from public service, Key worked to preserve the history of African Americans in Las Vegas through the Moulin Rouge Preservation Association and the Black History Society, Inc. On July 20, 2005, Key was inducted into KLAS, Channel 8’s Wall of Fame.

Key resided until her death on September 29, 2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her dedication to equality and commitment to her community helped to lower barriers faced by women and African Americans in Nevada. She had one daughter, Alice McAbee, two grandsons, and several great-grandchildren.

Alice Marie Key was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 31, 2007.

See how Alice Key is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alice Key's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alice Key lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alice Key describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alice Key describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alice Key talks about her maternal foster grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alice Key describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alice Key describes her maternal family's involvement in Riverside, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alice Key describes her neighborhood in Riverside, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alice Key recalls her political efforts in Riverside, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alice Key describes her experiences in Riverside, California's public schools
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Alice Key remembers her childhood burn and healing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Alice Key describes her experiences at Riverside Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Alice Key describes her experiences at University of California, Los Angeles
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alice Key talks about the role of the chorus girl
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alice Key recalls dancing as a chorus girl at Frank Sebastian's Cotton Club in Culver City, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alice Key remembers Louis Armstrong
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alice Key remembers Duke Ellington
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alice Key describes her move to the Cotton Club in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alice Key describes her experiences at the Cotton Club in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alice Key describes the Cotton Club's European tour
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alice Key recalls her final performance as a chorus girl, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alice Key remembers adopting her daughter
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alice Key recalls her final performance as a chorus girl, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alice Key describes her relationship with Lena Horne
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alice Key recalls reporting on the segregation of donated blood by the U.S. military
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alice Key remembers Lena Horne and Paul Robeson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alice Key remembers Joe Louis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alice Key remembers hosting a show for the United Service Organizations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alice Key remembers her move to Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alice Key describes her involvement in voter registration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alice Key talks about segregation in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alice Key describes her working relationship with William "Bob" Bailey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alice Key recalls the closure of the Moulin Rouge Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alice Key describes her political activities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alice Key recalls serving as the editor of the Las Vegas Voice
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alice Key talks about the Nevada Committee for the Rights of Women
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alice Key remembers Nat King Cole
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alice Key remembers Billie Holiday, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alice Key remembers Billie Holiday, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alice Key describes her work with the State of Nevada
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alice Key describes her involvement with the Nevada Democratic Party
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alice Key describes her role at the NAACP chapter in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alice Key recalls serving as the deputy commissioner of labor for the State of Nevada
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alice Key talks about her organizational involvement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alice Key remembers moving back to Riverside, California
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alice Key recalls being honored by KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alice Key talks about the Las Vegas Black Historical Society, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alice Key reflects upon her life, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alice Key describes her advice to aspiring entertainers and activists
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alice Key reflects upon her life, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alice Key reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alice Key describes her concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Alice Key reflects upon her values
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Alice Key describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Alice Key talks about the importance of history
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Alice Key describes the WonderChild-SHEROES project
  • Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Alice Key narrates her photographs