Transcript of interview with Hazel Gay by Claytee D. White, December 2, 1995


Digital ID
Transcript of interview with Hazel Gay by Claytee D. White, December 2, 1995
Material Set
White, Claytee D.
Interview with Hazel Gay conducted by Claytee D. White on December 2, 1995. Hazel and her husband Jimmy Gay moved to Las Vegas in 1946, becoming leaders in the African American community during the civil rights era.
On December 2, 1995, Hazel Gay was interviewed in regard to her husband, Jimmy Gay. She first met Jimmy when she was about twenty years old while she was attending school in Thornton, Arkansas. Eventually, Hazel and Jimmy were married secretly with no one knowing until several weeks later. In the interview Hazel talks about her wonderful experiences and memories between the two of them. Hazel and Jimmy went on to have four children, all currently living in Las Vegas. Before the family moved to Las Vegas, they lived in Fordyce, Arkansas, where Jimmy worked in a segregated funeral home. Jimmy had attended Arkansas State and studied in Chicago to learn embalming science. Hazel had been running her own restaurant at the time which was named "The Harlem Grill." Finally, Jimmy would convince Hazel to sell the business and relocate to Las Vegas. Fordyce is well known as a main recruiting location for Basic Magnesium Incorporated, so they knew many people who had previously migrated. They made the move in 1946, and upon arriving in the desert, they immediately fell in love with the city. The weather was just right, and the atmosphere and the environment were wonderful. Jimmy Gay was the first African-American mortician in Las Vegas. He would go on to work at the Sands, where he became the Assistant Manager, and the Union Plaza all while being an active member of the Culinary Union as an executive board member. He has been an instrumental part of the Las Vegas community, not only helping with race relations but in the social, economic, and civic facets of the city. Jimmy Gay was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 1988.
Identified Individuals
Identified Neighborhood
Neighborhood City / Town
CT247 .G38 2007
Original Collection
Original Date (interview)
Subject (FAST)
DC Type
Genre (TGM)
Specific Genre (LCSH)
This material may be protected by copyright. Personal, including educational and academic, use of this material is without restriction; but acknowledgement of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries is requested whether the use is oral, web or in print. Commercial use of any portion of this material requires permission. For further information please contact Digital Collections: This document is an oral history. It is a spoken account of certain events and phenomena recorded at one particular moment and filtered through one individual'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.
Digital Publisher
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Digital Collection
Master Extent
2353 x 3168 pixels; 7.8 x 10.6 inches; 22,672,080 bytes; 62 images
Master File Format
Master File Quality
24 bit color; 300 ppi

Cite this Item

When linking to this object, please use the following URL:,139



Subscribe to recent comments

There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment below!