You can’t find Laura Nihell in the Arizona Archives, or any history book on early Arizona, or any chronicle of Arizona journalists—but she was not only there, she proved herself one of the most courageous journalists of territorial days. Laura owned the Copper Belt in Jerome from 1909 to 1912—in the midst of Arizona’s quest for statehood and voting rights for women—and stood up against one of the ugliest chapters in our history: The Chinese Purge. Jana discovered this woman in an obscure book and has spent years tracking down her remarkable story, finding history wrote her out precisely because she was so courageous. It’s a fascinating tale.
Jana Bommersbach is one of Arizona’s most honored and respected journalists. She has won accolades in every facet of her career— investigative reporter, magazine columnist, television commentator and author of nationally acclaimed books. She currently writes for True West magazine, digging up the true stories behind the popular myths, with an emphasis on Arizona’s real history and women of the Old West. Her insight, knowledge and wit produce exuberant, riveting speeches that always garner rave reviews.