In The Community…with Charles Tureaud: Historic Vegas Living
To commemorate Black History Month, Las Vegas Black Image Magazine shares images from the home of Las Vegas’ first licensed African-American physician, Dr. Charles I. West (1908-1984) and his wife, Dorothy “Dottie” West, who passed away two years after her husband’s death.
A family practitioner who arrived in Southern Nevada from Detroit in 1954, Dr. West was, in the words of former governor Mike O’Callaghan “Nevada’s Martin Luther King.” In a tribute to West upon his death, Las Vegas Sun publisher Hank Greenspun described West as, “A healer of bodies, minds and souls as he attempted to reverse the ugly political and spiritual environment of Southern Nevada in the early 1950s.” Along with his lovely wife, West founded the region’s first black newspaper, the Las Vegas Voice, while still operating a medical practice and helping lead the fight against segregation.
Today, the couple’s home in the historic West Las Vegas community (where their granddaughter, also named Dottie, now lives) stands as a tribute to their legacy — with many of the original furnishings and historic photographs still in place. Indeed, many of the sights transport visitors to a moment in history when African-Americans began turning the tide against racism in Las Vegas, delivering a sense of accomplishment in the progress made possible by indispensable people like the Wests.