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 Lela <I>Campbell</I> Murray

Lela Campbell Murray

Kentucky, USA
Death 18 Mar 1949 (aged 58)
San Bernardino County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Section J, #2124 right against the fence
Memorial ID 7871736 · View Source
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Social Activitist. Nolie and Lela Murray owned "The only Negro dude ranch in the world - The Overall Wearing Dude Ranch." In operation from the 1920s to the 1940s, the ranch first catered to troubled and ill youngsters. In response to depression-era financial concerns, the ranch was converted into a resort for black families in then-segregated California. After Joe Louis's visit to the ranch was covered by Life Magazine, their financial woes were over. The ranch itself enjoyed celebrity: "The Bronze Buckaroo" and "Harlem Rides the Range," two of the four known Negro westerns, were filmed at the ranch. It was World War II, however, that saw the greatest social change, and Lela, Nolie and the ranch were smack in the middle of it. During the war, though, Lela opened the ranch to servicemen of all colors. In Lela's own words, during an interview, she explained, "We threw our own doors open to all soldiers, regardless of their color. And we promptly killed business at the [Catholic-owned] USO. Our place was a haven of pleasure. It was mixed in a lot of other ways, too. Officers wanted to come as badly as the regular GIs, but they had to mingle freely, just the same...We took care of their wives, their children. We turned no one away from here." After Lela died in 1949, Nolie remarried a few years later and kept the ranch operating until 1955, when the ranch was bought by entertainer Pearl Bailey. Nolie died on Saturday, June 30, 1958 and was buried in Victor Valley Memorial Park. In the late 80's the ranch became infested with brown recluse spiders and the old buildings were destroyed in a fire department training exercise.

Bio by: Shiver

Family Members



Founder Of World's First
Negro Dude Ranch





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Shiver
  • Added: 16 Sep 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7871736
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lela Campbell Murray (12 Jun 1890–18 Mar 1949), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7871736, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .