Transcript of interview with Judge Lee Gates by Claytee D. White, December 5, 1996


Digital ID
Transcript of interview with Judge Lee Gates by Claytee D. White, December 5, 1996
Material Set
White, Claytee D.
Interview with Judge Lee Gates conducted by Claytee D. White on December 5, 1996. Born in Louisiana, Gates moved to Las Vegas around 1960. Following high school, he attended UNLV, where he was a member of the Black Student Association and studied under professor Roosevelt Fitzgerald, who raised his awareness of black history. Gates participated in the civil rights movement and worked as a lawyer before becoming a judge. He discusses Jackson Street, Dr. Charles West, attorney Charles Kellar, and his own involvement with Ruby Duncan's group.
Judge Gates was born in Louisiana and was brought to Las Vegas around 1960 by his father. His mother had moved here earlier, gotten a job, and established a home in a trailer court across from Westside Elementary School. The family later moved into a house in Vegas Heights. He describes the civil rights disturbances in the South that caused his mother to want to leave and seek better circumstances for her family. His mother and father found jobs in Las Vegas that paid far better than any they could have gotten in Louisiana. He discusses the discrimination against blacks that existed at that time in Las Vegas casinos and other industries, but emphasizes that it was worse elsewhere. His mother always told her children that getting an education was the most important thing they could do. Judge Gates graduated from high school and attended UNLV. Mention is made of the effects of the Civil Rights movement on the gambling industry in Las Vegas. The NAACP put pressure on the hotels to integrate, and opportunities opened up for blacks and other minorities. According to Judge Gates, the integration efforts went smoothly here in Las Vegas. Judge Gates talks about Jackson Street, Dr. Charles West, Attorney Charles Keller, and his own involvement with Ruby Duncan's group. As a college student, he also was a member of the Black Student Association at UNLV. One of his professors was Roosevelt Fitzgerald, and he details the impact that "Fitz" had on his awareness of black history.
Identified Individuals
Identified Corporate Bodies
Identified Neighborhood
Westside, Vegas Heights
Neighborhood City / Town
CT247 .G37 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
2328 x 3124 pixels; 7.8 x 10.4 inches; 22,127,184 bytes; 25 images
Master File Format
Master File Quality
24 bit color; 300 ppi

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