Rusco, Elmer R(itter) 1928-2004

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RUSCO, Elmer R(itter) 1928-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born May 6, 1928, in Haviland, KS; died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis July 2, 2004, in Arlington, VA. Rusco was an authority on race relations, especially with regard to the state of Nevada. Completing his B.A. in 1951 and M.A. in 1952 at the University of Kansas, he earned a Ph.D. in 1960 from the University of California at Berkeley. It was while still at Kansas, when he joined the Congress of Racial Equality, that Rusco began his serious, lifelong involvement in fighting racism. After teaching political science at San Diego State College (now University) and the University of Idaho in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he joined the University of Nevada at Reno faculty as an assistant professor in 1963. Here he became a full professor in 1975 and directed the Bureau of Governmental Research from 1966 to 1976. During this time, he specialized in race relations in Nevada, publishing such works as Voting Behavior in Nevada (1966) and Good Time Coming?: Black Nevadans in the Nineteenth Century (1975). He was also a founder and former president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada. As a civil rights advocate, Rusco was interested not only in the rights of African Americans but of all ethnic and racial groups, such as Chinese and Native Americans, about which he wrote in various books and articles, including the 2000 publication A Fateful Time: The Background and Legislative History of the Indian Reorganization Act. Retiring from teaching in 1986, Rusco, who was also active in Common Cause, will be remembered for his scholarship, which backed up arguments against racism with solid documented research. At the time of his death, he had just completed editing an oral history of the University of Nevada.



Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2004, section B, p. 11.


Reno Gazelle-Journal Online, (July 3, 2004).