Research

Read oral history transcripts. Listen to audio excerpts. Preview photographs. Each item scratches the surface of the bigger story of living and working in Southern Nevada as a black person.

This site provides a searchable, centralized collection of multimedia materials that documents the history of the African American Experience of Las Vegas.

The content includes: African American Collaborative’s Partner Collections; additional photos provided and scanned from individual donors; and transcribed oral histories with audio clips.

Oral Histories

Read their words
This collection of oral history documents features interviews conducted in the 1970s through current time. Together or individually each adds perspective to the cultural heritage and experience of blacks in Southern Nevada.

Audio Clips

Hear their voices
Brief audio clips have been taken from many of the oral history interviews. They are unedited.

Images

See history as it was happening
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. The digital collection features many of the faces and places talked about in the oral histories.

Donating photos (we’ll even scan them for you) from personal collections is a priceless way to participate our documenting effort. Here are some featured scans. Go to Participate to contact us and share your photos and documents.

Bibliography

To enhance your research, check out these books, articles, and more.

Partner Collections

Repository Collection
Las Vegas - Clark County Library District African American Special Collection
Henderson Libraries HDPL Digital Collections
City of Las Vegas Historic Locations
Clark County Museum Museum Website
Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas Jay Florian Mitchell Collection
VegasPBS Las Vegas African American Community Conversations
Wiener-Rogers Law Library Law Library Website
Las Vegas National Bar Association Black History Month Issue of the Nevada Lawyer
UNLV Libraries Special Collections Archives and Oral Histories
Books and Articles
   

Timeline

History is often best understood by first viewing the chronology of events. This project presents an overview of historical events in African American history on the timeline.

Spotlight

Periodically, Spotlight articles will be posted on specific items in the collection or on themes for research and exploration. Check out the Spotlight feature or the home page, or visit the Spotlights page.

Research Tips

Using the Digital Collection Search

Digital Collections provide a comprehensive, searchable, online collection of digitized materials in multiple formats. The digital collection is designed to help users browse topic areas and retrieve information of specific interest by entering search terms. All items in this collection have assigned keywords (metadata) assigned to help faciliate discovery through common access points like name, date, business, geographic location, and subject. Each oral history interview has also been transcribed and the full-text transcript is searchable.

The digital collection also features an Advanced Search for researchers wishing to combine several search parameters in complex queries. Interviews can be downloaded as PDFs and printed or emailed for research purposed. Each narrator also has a record that consolidates all items in the collection that refer to them. By viewing biographical information, users can quickly identify what formats are part of each narrator's set of materials. Research librarians at UNLV, as well as staff at local cultural heritage organizations, are always willing to assist with searches.

Pre-selected searches have also been created on various topics. The home page features several thumbnails that lead to a set of materials (such as "churches and religion" or the "West Side"). Other suggested searches include:

For more information about the digital collection search features see the Digital Collections Help page.

Using Oral Histories

An oral history is a spoken account of certain events and phenomena recorded at one particular moment and filtered through one’s life experience, sensibility and memory. As such, it should be considered a primary source rather than a final, verified or complete narrative of the events it records. 

The Oral History Association [OHA] is the central professional organization for oral historians and maintains a website with Principles and Best Practices, and much more. Educators check out the OHA Pamphlet Series’ Oral History Projects in Your Classroom.