Skip to Main Content

Black History Month Resources: Black History--Special Collections

Welcome to the Black History Month Resource Guide: In honor of February being Black History Month, we are highlighting a number of African American resources that are available through UNLV Libraries, in addition to a variety of web resources.

Black History Materials in Special Collections

UNLV Special Collections and Archives contains a variety of unique materials relating to the African American population in Las Vegas, NV and Southern Nevada. Check out the manuscript, oral history, and photograph collections to learn more.

Photograph: Nat King Cole on Stage at the Sands Hotel from the Sands Hotel Public Relations Records. MS-00417. Special Collections and Archives, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. 


Manuscript Collections

Marie and James B. McMilliam Papers- The Marie and James B. McMillan Papers (1928-2010) primarily contain documents pertaining to the families and careers of Marie and James B. McMillan. Included in the collection are photographs, biographical materials, newspaper clippings, award certificates, programs, obituaries, scrapbooks, trophies, legal and military documents, and political campaign documents. Marie McMillan is a former Las Vegas, Nevada flight instructor and one of the first women to work at the Nevada Test Site in Nye County, Nevada. James B. McMillan was the first African American dentist to practice in Nevada, as well as a Nevada civil rights leader.

The Mabel Hoggard Papers- The Mabel Hoggard Papers (1903-2011) contain materials related to Hoggard's career as a Las Vegas, Nevada elementary school teacher, her research and civic interests in Las Vegas's predominantly African American Westside communities, and her engagement with civil rights issues. The collection also contains materials about Hoggard's life, including biographical newspaper articles about her childhood, education, work, and family. The collection includes lesson plans, scrapbooks, awards, correspondence, photographs, and physical objects such as a vinyl record and political pins. The bulk of the collection focuses on her life in Las Vegas from approximately 1946-1989.

Urban Chamber of Commerce of Las Vegas, Nevada Records- The Urban Chamber of Commerce of Las Vegas, Nevada Records date from 1982-2009. The collection contains the organizational records of the Urban Chamber of Commerce of Las Vegas, Nevada (UCC) one of the many Chambers of Commerce in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. The mission of the Urban Chamber of Commerce is to create and foster an environment that promotes development of members and black owned businesses. The collection is comprised of publications, financial records, various event information, and photographs of events and members.

Professional Black Women's Alliance Records- The Professional Black Women’s Alliance Records (1997-2003) consist of correspondence, photographs, and programs from the Professional Black Women’s Alliance. Most programs pertain to the organization’s annual Rose Awards, which celebrate black female role models from the Las Vegas, Nevada community.

Union of Black Episcopalians Las Vegas Chapter Records- The Union of Black Episcopalians Las Vegas Chapter Records, dating from 1993 to 2014, contain the organization's charter, bylaws, constitution, awards, Kwanzaa activities, the teachings of Absalom Jones, photographs, and sponsored activities.

Oral History Interviews

Gwendolyn Walker- Gwendolyn K. Walker moved to North Las Vegas from Houston, Texas with her family when she was five years old in 1962. She moved back to Louisiana for a time while her mother was in nursing school and then returned to North Las Vegas. While she was in junior high school she founded S.W.A.P., Students With a Purpose, and the Swapettes, which was the first precision drill team in Las Vegas, to keep youth busy with positive activities. Gwen also began to collect African American memorabilia and later founded the Walker African American Museum. Her family is related to the African American blues guitarist T-Bone Walker and Moses Fleetwood Walker, who was the first African American to play major league baseball.

James A. Gay III- Jimmy was the first African American mortician in Las Vegas. He also was the assistant manager at the Sands and an executive at the Union Plaza.

Stella Parson- Stella Parson was the first African American student to graduate from University of Nevada, Reno. Parson has been a teacher for the Clark County School District. Parson discusses discrimination in Reno and Las Vegas, opportunities for African Americans in the Nevada education system, and her experience as a Black educator.

Emory and Agnes Lockette- Emory Lockette is an African American engineer who moved to Boulder City, Nevada in 1953 to work for the Bureau of Reclamation. He and his wife Agnes, who was an early childhood teacher in Las Vegas and Henderson and who also taught at UNLV, were the only African Americans in Boulder City during a time of tense race relations.

Alma Whitney- This interview provides information on the African American migration to Las Vegas during the 1940s, post-war race relations in Las Vegas, the daily work of hotel maids, and the culinary union.

Head of Special Collections & Archives Public Services

Photograph Collections

Clinton Wright Photograph Collection- The Clinton Wright Photographs contain approximately 4,000 black-and-white photographic negatives of various sizes, dating from 1964 to 1971. The images present the African American experience in Las Vegas, Nevada during the 1960s and 1970s as seen through the lens of Clinton Wright when he was a photographer with the publication The Voice. The images in this collection depict various activities in the community and include politicians like Senator Joe Neal, Governor Grant Sawyer, and American President Lyndon Johnson, who visited Las Vegas in 1964.

Marie McMillan Photograph Collection- The Marie and James B. McMillan Photograph Collection (1900-1994) contains photographs of Marie and James B. McMillan and their families. The collection also includes photographs of their friends and professional associates, including journalist Hank Greenspun, Nevada civil rights pioneer J. David Hoggard, and entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. Marie McMillan is a former Las Vegas, Nevada flight instructor and one of the first women to work at the Nevada Test Site in Nye County, Nevada. James B. McMillan was the first African-American dentist to practice in Nevada, as well as a prominent Nevada civil rights leader.

Las Vegas Sun Photographs- The Las Vegas Sun Photographs depict significant events in Las Vegas, Nevada from 1948 to 1989 that were covered by the newspaper. The photographs partially document the gubernatorial, senatorial, midterm, and local elections in Nevada in 1982. The photographs also include protests by African Americans for better wages and renters for fair housing practices, McCarran Airport, protests against the Nevada Test Site, the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas, hotels and casinos, political events, parades, dedications of buildings, and aerial photographs of the city. The photographs also depict politicians during campaign events and fundraisers, including President Ronald Reagan; U.S. Senators Howard Cannon, Pat McCarran, Chic Hecht, Paul Laxalt, and Harry Reid; Nevada governors Mike O'Callaghan and Robert List; and Lieutenant Governor Bob Cashell.

© University of Nevada Las Vegas