First Black Doctor in Las Vegas Left his Mark - 8 News NOW

First Black Doctor in Las Vegas Left his Mark

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Charles and Dottie West Charles and Dottie West
Photo Credit: UNLV Library Photo Credit: UNLV Library

LAS VEGAS --  Dr. Charles West died in 1984, but still lives on through so many people, including his granddaughter who  lives in the same house her grandparents owned more than 50 years ago.

There's a reason Dottie West chooses to stay in the older home.

"My grandparents entertained a lot in here," said West, as she showed an 8 News NOW crew around the home.

It's a step back in time.

"They would bring buses here and my grandfather would play pinochle and they'd have poker and all kinds of stuff," she said.

From antique furniture to vintage drapes, the house exudes a feeling of warmth. Over the years, many famous people visited the home including Count Basie, Pearl Bailey, Debbie Reynolds and Della Reese.

Charles West purchased the home in 1963 shortly after becoming the first black physician in Las Vegas.

"This is my grandfather's medical bag and I actually just pulled it out. I've never even really opened it until today," West said.

She's treasured everything.

"This was his old table that was in the office. I mean it's a functioning medical table, stirrups and all that," she said. "I remember seating the patients. I would call the patients and I was little. I'd have to say, I was maybe 7."

While the former World War II field surgeon was known for healing bodies, he also inspired minds as publisher of the Las Vegas Voice. It was the first black newspaper that received nationwide recognition in the fight against segregation.

"Best wishes to Dr. and Mrs. West and then it's just signed Lyndon B. Johnson," West said. 

While her grandfather had numerous accomplishments, Dottie West most cherishes the time she spent with him going for walks as he grew older.

"Mama Dottie would ask him to do it. He needed to do it because he had emphysema and stuff, but it was hard for him but when I would come and ask him 'Papa Charles would you come walk with me?' He would. Just being there and walking with him, that was enough for me."

West doesn't remember any specific conversations during the walks, only that she felt special.

"Just love, just like I feel in this house all the time. Maybe that's why I don't get rid of a lot of stuff because it's like they're still here."

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