On Feb. 20, the UNLV University Libraries’ multi-year project “Documenting the African American Experience in Las Vegas” will culminate with the premiere of the Vegas PBS documentary African Americans: The Las Vegas Experience.
“The history of the Las Vegas African American community is the history of Las Vegas,” says Patricia Iannuzzi, dean of the UNLV University Libraries. “This documentary honors the African American community of Las Vegas and we are grateful to have the opportunity to share this story in the words of the people who lived it.”
African Americans: The Las Vegas Experience is the result of a partnership between UNLV University Libraries and Vegas PBS, with grant funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Commission for the Las Vegas Centennial. The documentary is the final phase of the UNLV University Libraries’ “Documenting the African American Experience in Las Vegas” project, which included the formation of an advisory board, the collection of oral histories and materials, and the creation of a digital portal to provide online access to the project’s materials.
“It took several years, many partnerships, four grants, the talents of many, and the trust of a community to document this history through our digital collection, and tell this story through the Vegas PBS documentary,” says Iannuzzi. “It has been very moving to be a part of this project to preserve and share the history of the African American community in Las Vegas, and we look forward to collaborating on additional projects with Vegas PBS in the future.”
The documentary includes interviews with Claytee White, director of the UNLV University Libraries Oral History Research Center, as well as Dr. Earnest Bracey, Robert Stoldal, Dr. Sylvester S. Rogers, Jean Childs, Hannah Brown, Helen Anderson Toland, Theron Goynes, Naomi Goynes, John Edmond, Agnes Marshall, Jarmilla McMillan Arnold, Ruby Amie-Pilot, Henry L. Reagan Jr., Leonard Polk, Claudette Enus, Jackie Brantley, and Eva Simmons.
Documenting the African American Experience in Las Vegas was launched by the UNLV University Libraries in 2012 with the Community Partners of the African American Collaborative. This group of individuals and organizations came together with a mission of collecting, preserving, and making accessible the history of African Americans in Las Vegas.
To learn more, visit the Documenting the African American Experience in Las Vegas website. Tune in to Vegas PBS on cable channel 10 or 1010 or digital channel 10.1 on Monday, Feb. 20 at 9 p.m. for your chance to see African Americans: The Las Vegas Experience.