UNLV Unveils Black History Project - 8 News NOW

UNLV Unveils Black History Project

Posted: Updated:

LAS VEGAS -- Segregation, protests and inequality were part of life for blacks in Las Vegas in the 1900s.

We sometimes hear snippets of stories, but it is a challenge finding this history in one place. Now, UNLV has unveiled a new research portal that the university and PBS spent two years creating.

It is called the African-American Experience Portal and it contains 467 recorded interviews, old photos and documents that give first-hand accounts of the contributions by African Americans dozens of years ago.

"My biggest struggle was when I was in a cotton field as a child, chopping cotton, picking cotton," civil rights activist Ruby Duncan remembered.

From the backwoods of Tallulah, Louisiana, Ruby Duncan moved to Las Vegas in the 1950s determined to live a better life.

"I was working at a drug store, making $9.50 a week," Duncan said.

Duncan started as a maid for a local comedian but quickly found her calling, fighting for the welfare rights of women and children by any means necessary.

"If they wanted jobs, we helped, made sure that they got jobs. We made sure that their healthcare was taken care of," Duncan said.

Duncan's story is one of hundreds of oral interviews on the new African-American Experience Portal by UNLV libraries.

The process was fairly simple, according to Claytee White the director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV.

"What we've done is, we've found people in all walks of life: religion, businesses, doctors, lawyers, maids, porters and we've asked them questions," White said.

Scanned photographs, documents and historical items dating back to the 1900s depict the tragedies and triumphs of African Americans.

"First, we had to learn the history ourselves, then we had to go behind those stories and we had to talk to the people who lived it," White said.

Civil rights activists like Ruby Duncan, who today has her own namesake in Las Vegas, hope their documented struggles in the 60s empower women and children beyond 2014.

"To have good healthcare, to have a good education, to go have a job, go to school," Duncan said.

To see to the research portal, go to digital.library.unlv.edu/aae.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.