weather icon Clear

Stories of Black history inspirational

Growing up in the ’50s I was never taught the contributions made by the black community in our history class. By engaging in this celebration every year, I have been encouraged to learn more about the accomplishments made by people of color in our country’s history.

In honor of Black History Month and, as chair of the Boulder City Democratic Club, I was afforded the opportunity to invite Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center at the UNLV libraries, to participate in our monthly Zoom meeting.

The focus for this meeting was to highlight two topics of interest in the Las Vegas area. The members chose to learn the history behind the Moulin Rouge Hotel, which promoters called “the nation’s first major interracial hotel,” and Joe Neal, Nevada’s first black state senator who “served more than three decades in the legislative chamber and championed the poor and working class.”

I sat mesmerized as Director White recapped the story of how the Moulin Rouge Hotel got started. Questions I had in my mind were about what it must have been like to be there on opening night? What did the hotel look like inside? Why did the most popular entertainers want to perform there? All my questions were clearly answered with the facts and documented stories gathered from the hotel staff, famous black and white entertainers who performed there and people who stayed there during that time. Some are still alive today to carry on the history. White’s storytelling made me feel like I had been there but realizing, with much disappointment, I missed all if it.

I was affected in the same way when she and others on the Zoom meeting, shared personal stories about Joe Neal. What he was like as a man serving his county in the Air Force and moving up in his life to working his way through politics and gaining an incredible reputation as a “giant of a man.” He was beloved by everyone he came in contact with and, the sharing of personal funny stories with people who had been around him, made me feel like I missed getting to know this wonderful man and the impact he had on Nevada’s history.

By the end of the meeting, I was encouraged to see that there were several young people in attendance who later expressed how much they enjoyed and had learned about our local history from Director White. I hope they too will be as inspired to listen more carefully to the history we never learned.

Charm McElree is chairperson of the Boulder City Democratic Club and active with Operation Recognition, a national program that grants veterans their high school diplomas.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Machines and human love

After dropping my wife off at work, since she had her car in the shop overnight, I enjoyed the beauty of Clark County’s mountains as the snow is near the valley floor.

What is the 3D Project?

Doesn’t it bug you when someone speaks in their trade-language?

Partnerships crucial to LMNRA

In September 2023, Lake Mead National Recreation Area launched the More to Mead initiative. The project aims to deepen relationships with surrounding communities and tribes.

Sometimes it’s the little things

In my office I have a small shelf near my desk where I have a few knick-knacks, a couple of coffee mugs, two funny journalism-related signs and some tea. Last week, I added something that has come to mean a lot to me, not so much for what it is but what it represents.

Hi, my name is Bill…

Having the chance to do a little column once a month is one of the most fun parts about this job. It’s something I look forward to.

Local veterans look north for assistance

During the past several years at least three separate individuals have told me that they would like to finance a building for veterans, a place where all vets could go to just hang out, have meetings, converse and feel at home.

Our road map to success needs your input

Setting and achieving goals is vital to many success stories. Whether it was NFL coaches Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan starting their seasons wanting to go to the Super Bowl, a mailroom employee working their way up to the CEO of a company, or the desire to make a community better, it helps to have a road map to measure progress. That is where a strategic plan is valuable. A strategic plan can also translate as the community’s road map.

What is Valentine’s Day if not a day of love?

It was likely first celebrated in the eighth century on February 14. How have our relationships as well as love changed since the eighth century? We no longer have the support of a familial culture. It is now more secular.

All the World’s a Stage

Last month, I was privileged to share the State of the City Address with more than 170 people in person and many others watching the live stream. I came up with the idea to do a center stage because the circle brought the pieces all together.