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The Black migration to Las Vegas.



The African American population in Las Vegas had grown to 15,000 by 1955, which accounted for 10% of the city's overall population. Unfortunately, these individuals were forced to reside in a segregated section of the city known as the "Westside." The Westside, which was originally J.T. McWilliams' Las Vegas Townsite, was situated beyond a "cement curtain" barrier, across the railroad tracks from Fremont Street. Despite the glamorous resorts of the Strip, the Westside remained unchanged since McWilliams' time, consisting of only ten square blocks of unpaved streets and lacking running water and working sewage lines. Despite the poor living conditions, the Westside was a self-contained community with its own churches and schools. The residents supported each other and enjoyed a middle-class standard of living due to the wages paid by the Strip.



This policy created a dilemma for the resort owners. Many of the most sought-after acts for resort showrooms were African American. Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, Lena Horne and Sammy Davis Jr. were just four of the many hugely important entertainers of the time. However, due to the casino owners' policy, the entertainers would perform their acts, and then be ushered out the door, forced to stay in a far less accommodating room for a price that was often up to four times more expensive as the most sought after of Strip suites.


Leave through the Kitchen - As Sammy Davis Jr. once recalled, "In Vegas for 20 minutes, our skin had no color. Then the second we stepped off the stage, we were colored again... the other acts could gamble or sit in the lounge and have a drink, but we had to leave through the kitchen with the garbage."



The youth of our community are the future leaders, innovators, and changemakers who will shape the world for the better. Their energy, creativity, and passion are the driving force behind progress and growth, and I am constantly inspired by their vision and dedication.

The African American community in Las Vegas, Nevada is a shining example of strength, resilience, and perseverance. Despite facing numerous challenges throughout history, this vibrant community has maintained its sense of pride, culture, and unity.

With a rich history dating back to the early 20th century, African Americans in Las Vegas have played a significant role in the city's growth and development.

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