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Las Vegas civil rights pioneer Bennett leaves huge legacy

Reported by: Reed Cowan
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Updated: 7/25/2013 12:32 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- The fingerprints of The Rev. Marion Bennett are all over Las Vegas.

The pastor at Zion United Methodist Church for more than 50 years, Bennett passed away Sunday. He was 80.

A hero who came to Clark County in 1960 at the height of the civil rights movement, Bennett worked with another reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, to push a message of nonviolence.

Johnny Hampton, who was a friend of Bennett’s, was just a kid then.

“If there was a march, anything, he was there, in person,” Hampton said. “He was the COO of Las Vegas’ west side.”

Of all his missions, raising his children was top for the reverend.

His daughter, Karen, grew to exemplify his value of education and service, becoming the only African-American in the Nevada justice system and the first African-American female justice of the peace in Nevada.

“I went to NAACP meetings and church meetings, and we went to visit the sick and shut-in,” Karen Bennett said. “Because we've been blessed, we have an obligation to give and to give back and to serve and to love people.”

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid released a statement Monday: “I’m terribly saddened to hear of the passing of my good friend Reverend Marion Bennett.

"Since his arrival in Las Vegas in 1960, Marion fought hard to ensure equal rights for all, and his legacy will surely continue to inspire generations of Nevada’s youth. My thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”



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