Did you know the great actor, Billy Barty, started The Little People of America, Inc. here 50 years ago?

From his official web site:

While performing with Spike Jones, Billy was asked by the PR man for a Reno Nevada hotel to host a convention for “midgets.”Billy agreed on April 3, 1957, twenty one people of short stature representing nine different states met in “The Biggest Little City in the World.” The media loved the event, headlining them as “The Midgets of America,” which bothered Billy a bit.

“It bothered me because, first and foremost, we are people. We aren’t sub-human, we didn’t leap from the pages of a storybook or from an enchanted forest. We are people with all the hopes, dreams, passions, and faults of everyone else. Eighty percent of us are born into families with no history of dwarfism.”

Billy goes on to explain how a friend approached him about using her song “Little People” in his act. He loved it and thus “The Little People of America, Inc.” was born, the group which later gave birth to the Billy Barty Foundation.

His is the only organization supporting those affected by the more than 200 forms of dwarfism. Besides providing much needed support, his organizations address social, medical and scholarship needs.

Tomorrow’s Reno history lesson involves Corona Beer!

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