The UNLV University Libraries recently unveiled a new web portal that connects stories and historical evidence of the African American experience in Las Vegas. “Documenting the African American Experience in Las Vegas,” a project funded by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, is a result of the collaborative efforts of many individuals and institutions. Local libraries, museums, and organizations have worked together to collect and contribute historical resources to create the first, and most comprehensive, repository of this history.
The online research portal offers oral histories, audio excerpts, historical photographs, and documents. The site provides a searchable, centralized and indexed collection of multimedia materials, allowing researchers to browse topics or enter specific search terms. Metadata has been assigned to help facilitate discovery through common access points like name, date, business, geographic location, and subject. Biographical information is also provided for oral history narrators that brings together all their contributions to the collections. Each oral history interview has been transcribed and the full-text transcript is searchable.
Highlights of the project include roundtable discussions recently filmed at Vegas PBS as part of its four-part Las Vegas African American Community Conversations Series. An interactive timeline of historical events in African American history links materials sourced from a variety of partner collections.
At a recent event to celebrate the creation of this portal, the Libraries welcomed many of the narrators of the oral histories and representatives from the partner organizations. “The Libraries are responsible for collecting the history of Las Vegas. We collect the history so others can discover and make their own meaning from these materials,” said Dean Patricia Iannuzzi.
For Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center, the project is ongoing. “We want your history and participation in this project. Your oral history and photographs add perspective to the cultural heritage and experience of blacks in Southern Nevada,” White said.
The Libraries encourage all UNLV researchers to discover and explore the rich history within “Documenting the African American Experience in Las Vegas.”
Contact Claytee White to learn more about how you can participate and contribute to this project.