Thursday, February 22, 2024

HISTORIC BLACK VEGAS | Las Vegas’ African-American Timeline: 1960-2014

February 26, 2023 by  
Filed under Highlights

Claytee D. White


Our months-long examination of the African-American experience and presence in the Las Vegas Valley concludes with this installment — a timeline tracing events from a major desegregation milestone to a long-overdue achievement that was finally reached well into the 21st century.

1960: The Moulin Rouge Agreement was reached on March 26, establishing integration of public accommodations in Las Vegas The discussions around the parameters of the agreement were held at the Moulin Rouge property.

1965: The Economic Opportunity Board (EOB) introduced War on Poverty programs to Clark County.

1968: As the NAACP was preparing to hold its 1969 national conference in Las Vegas, it was discovered that segregated housing and dining facilities were being set up for Negro delegates at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The regional office started a campaign against the city, urging a boycott that would have “all national and west coast business, civic, social, fraternal and labor organizations refuse to schedule future conventions or conferences in Las Vegas or anywhere else in Jim Crow Nevada.”

1969: Racial tensions that some referred to as a riot or rebellion exploded at the beginning of October. During the disturbance, police barricaded entrances into the Westside neighborhood. A four-day curfew imposed by Mayor Gragson was enforced by the National Guard.

Late 1960s: Operation of the entire national welfare system was found to be ineffective and inequitable. Poor women across the country began to protest these unfair policies. In Las Vegas, some of the women in the forefront of the local Welfare Rights Movement included Ruby Duncan, Alversa Beals, Essie Henderson, Mary Wesley, Rosie Seals, Aldine Weems, and Emma Stampley.

1971: A court-mandated consent decree mandated employment for Blacks at 12% in many front-of-the-house positions in the gaming industry.

1972: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Clark County School District (CCSD) to develop a mandatory desegregation plan. Black students were bussed in all grades except kindergarten and sixth. White students were bussed for the sixth grade only.

1972: KCEP 88.1, “The Peoples’ Station,” was founded with 10 watts of power by the Economic Opportunity Board.

1978-1981: Dr. Claude G. Perkins served as the first Black CCSD Superintendent.

1989: With Armstrong v. CCSD, the Las Vegas Alliance of Black School Educators Inc. (LVABSE) joined eight Black parents and 13 students in a federal lawsuit charging the CCSD Board of Trustees and Superintendent Brian Cram with systemwide racial discrimination and segregation.

1992: The L.A. Riots spilled over into Las Vegas.

2014: F Street is re-opened at a cost of $13.5 million. You can learn more about F Street in my next column

This is the final entry of the timeline that summarizes the overarching themes of Black life in Las Vegas. Which entry would you like to know more about? Which entry do you have firsthand information about and would like to tell me more about? I want to learn from you. Call me at (702) 895-2222.

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