Saturday, June 24, 2017

Well deserved: Dr. William “Bob” Bailey and Anna Bailey

Dr. William “Bob” Bailey and Anna Bailey.

On May 19, Dr. William “Bob” Bailey and Anna Bailey will receive UNLV’s highest honor.

After their nomination by University of Nevada, Las Vegas Board of Regents member Cedric Crear, pioneering Las Vegas legends Dr. William “Bob” Bailey and Anna Bailey have been selected to receive the Distinguished Nevadan Award.

The Baileys will receive the prestigious honor, along with a cap and gown, at the UNLV commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 19. Ten days earlier, there will be a preliminary celebration luncheon honoring the Baileys and other Nevada trailblazers.

“When I nominated Dr. and Mrs. Bailey, I received responses from people all around Nevada indicating that the Baileys are great people to honor,” said Crear, “because they have contributed so much to the state of Nevada.”

Arriving in Las Vegas in 1955 with the famed Moulin Rouge show — which distinguished itself as the nation’s first integrated stage production — the Baileys decided the stay in Las Vegas when the Moulin Rouge Hotel & Casino closed after just six months. “I knew that Vegas would grow to where it is today,” said Dr. Bailey, “and all I saw were opportunities.”

Cedric Crear nominated the Baileys for the award.

Combating the era’s racial injustices as a member of the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, Dr. Bailey and his wife fought alongside other community activists to desegregate Las Vegas. Their work helped open doors for African-Americans by spurring fair employment and housing practices that allowed blacks to prosper in Nevada. Among their most memorable accomplishments: hosting Dr. Bailey’s Morehouse College classmate Martin Luther King Jr. on his first visit to Las Vegas.

“We are so honored to receive this wonderful award and to be nominated by Cedric Crear,” said Anna Bailey, who is a founding member of Las Vegas Links Inc. and Las Vegas Girl Friends Inc., nonprofit organizations that have given thousands of dollars in scholarships to Nevada’s youth. “We are so proud of him, and were very good friends with his parents, Dr. John and Barbara Crear, who also accompanied us in our fight for equal justice for all people in Nevada. Las Vegas has been very good to us.”

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