Thursday, May 23, 2024

HISTORIC BLACK VEGAS: Love’s Cocktail Lounge, and a legacy of excellence on the Historic Westside

February 8, 2024 by  
Filed under Feature

Claytee D. White

BY CLAYTEE D. WHITE

Today (January 15, 2024), I opened a copy of the Las Vegas Sentinel dated January 14, 1982. This was the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. issue, and on the front page was a Stevie Wonder quote, “I and a growing number of people believe that it is time for our country to adopt legislation that will make January 15, Martin Luther King’s birthday, a national holiday, both in recognition of what he achieved and as a reminder of the distance which still has to be traveled.” 

President Ronald Regan signed the bill into law in 1983 — but it took nearly two decades for all 50 states to observe the holiday. 

This year, I celebrated the day by watching “Rustin,” journaling, and preparing for Black History Month presentations. “Rustin” is a Netflix biopic about the work of Bayard Rustin and his masterful organization of the 1963 March on Washington. It was produced by Higher Ground Productions, which is led by Barack and Michelle Obama. 

In this 1982 edition of the Sentinel, Love’s Cocktail Lounge was named Outstanding Black Business of the Week. Currently located at 500 West Jackson is True Vine Missionary Baptist Church. Before Love’s, the building was a bowling alley. Beginning in 1970, it was one of the places to be for great entertainment. Love’s held a “synonymous status with hospitality and fellowship.” It was one of the venues with space for dancing and live entertainment. Mrs. Dorothy Love’s memories of Bobby Blue Bland and other renowned blues singers, a gift shop, and good food drew locals and tourists to their business. 

It is now the intent of the City of Las Vegas, the Westside community, Nevada Partners, and UNLV to bring tourists back to the Westside as the infrastructure is being renovated, renewed, and built up from scratch. Soon, Jimmy and Dorothy Love will look down on a new Black Strip. 

Additionally, this issue of the Sentinel contains an article written by Roosevelt Fitzgerald, who researched much of Las Vegas’ history. In this article, he included little-known but fascinating facts. The late 1950s, leading up to integration in March of 1960, proved pivotal and probably led directly to why integration came when it did. Fitzgerald wrote, Westside business groups organized to raise funds to furnish a room at Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital; Reverend V.C.L. Coleman was instrumental in organizing a Westside Voters League (which probably should be re-organized); Robert Johnson was elected president of the New Democrats organization; Mrs. Rose Daniels became Precinct Chairman of the Westside Voter Registration drive; and Mr. H.P. Fitzgerald became the first Black school principal in Nevada history. 

The Westside was on the move! What happened? Today, where do you want to go from here? As Stevie Wonder stated, we still have “a distance which still has to be traveled.”

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