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: the African American Collaborative’s partner collections; additional photos provided and scanned from individual donors; and transcribed oral histories with audio clips.
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.
Hear their voices
Brief audio clips have been taken from many of the oral history interviews. They are unedited.
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.
Watch a 60 minute documentary, drawn from content in this website, about the momentous events that defined the African American experience in Las Vegas throughout the Civil Rights era.
To enhance your research, check out these books, articles, and more.
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.
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.
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 facilitate 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:
- View All Images
- View All Oral History Transcripts
- View All Narrators Biographical Information
- View All Items from Nevada State Museum Collections (Jay Florian Mitchell Collection)
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.
Use a curriculum developed by Clark County School District teachers in alignment with the Nevada Academic Content Standards that highlights the history of African Americans in Las Vegas.