University Forum Lecture: Tyler Parry Speaks on the 1969 Uprising in West Las Vegas April 4

Tyler D. Parry, associate professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies, will present, "They Forget, We’re People Too: Revisiting the 1969 Uprising in West Las Vegas,” as part of the University Forum Lecture Series from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 4 in the Beverly Rogers Literature and Law Building, Room 101. The series is sponsored and funded by the College of Liberal Arts and the Dean’s Associates.

About the lecture

As uprisings against poverty, unemployment, and police brutality swept through the United States in the last half of the 1960s, protesters within Las Vegas’ majority-Black Westside initiated a similar campaign against police brutality after officers arrested two young Black men on Oct. 5, 1969. Residents watched the officers kick down the doors to their home and mace the family members preventing their entry. A crowd formed throughout the area as more people came to observe the skirmish.

Groups of Black youth quickly organized against the police state and initiated a response that consumed the area for three days. The uprising became so intense that police established curfews and set up blockades to obstruct protesters from entering the tourist-rich Downtown. Though violent clashes with police occurred in previous decades, the 1969 uprising was a singular event for the growing city, as it set a tone for subsequent conflicts between the Black community and police officers throughout the valley.

Parry’s research makes three interventions in exploring this largely unknown history and how it should be understood in the 21st century. First, the primary sources confirm the 1969 uprising was rooted in a long, pervasive history of fraught interactions between police and the residents of this disenfranchised neighborhood. Second, his presentation uses this historical context to investigate how Las Vegas fits into larger national narratives about police brutality and community activism. Lastly, he explores the lessons that Las Vegans can still learn from this important moment in the history of race relations in Southern Nevada.

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