A History Of Racism In Las Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas sign
Leslie Taylor-Grover
October 9, 2020

Las Vegas in the 1950s was very much the same as it is today. It was a tourism hot spot: the city had nightlife, art, and businesses of all kinds. But Las Vegas had something else too, that overshadowed its economic prosperity.

It also had horrible, explicit racism. It was so bad, our people called it the Mississippi of the West! One journalist called it a  “virtual hell-hole of racial prejudice.” 

Instead of opportunity, our people found a resistant and violent opposition to anything not white. How did it get so bad?

When Black people arrived in Las Vegas seeking economic freedom in the early 1900s, they began working and building wealth. However, as opportunities to make money grew, so did racism and violence against our people. Klan members even marched the streets! But it got worse.

Banks refused our people loans for businesses and homes. As the city expanded, we were denied opportunities for big contracts. We were excluded from the promise of wealth in the city. So what did we do?

We banded together and won our rights! We continue to fight today, because the white supremacy from the early 1900s is in many ways still intact

Building wealth is as important as ever for our people. How will you support Black wealth creation in your community?

We have a quick favor to ask:

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