Las Vegas City Councilman Cedric Crear and Clark County Commissioner William McCurdy II have announced the names of 36 leaders and icons of the Historic Westside who will be recognized within the currently under construction Legacy Park.
Construction on Historic Westside Legacy Park, a partnership between the city of Las Vegas and Clark County, is underway at 1600 Mount Mariah Drive and is scheduled to be completed this year.
Legacy Park is a tribute to the many trailblazers who have led the community through the years. The park will incorporate unique elements, such as a timeline of the Historic Westside and an interpretive walking trail. It also will include public artwork and the stories of the Westside, along with trees, landscaping and a playground.
Here is some additional information on the first group of honorees to be recognized at Legacy Park.
William “Bob” and Anna Bailey – Bob Bailey was appointed as Nevada's first chairman of the Equal Rights Commission by Governor Grant Sawyer to investigate discrimination practices in Nevada that denied African-Americans and other minorities equal access and employment opportunities. Bailey established the Nevada Economic Development Corporation that assisted minority businesses obtaining more than $300 million in funding. His successes resulted in his appointment, by then-President George H.W. Bush, as the first Presidential appointee from Nevada to serve as associate director of the Minority Development Business Agency.
Anna Bailey danced at the Moulin Rouge in the first line of African-American dancers in the city of Las Vegas and in the last 1960s she became the first African-American dancer on the Strip.
Shirley Barber - A dedicated educator, Barber was an innovative elementary school principal, community activist and Clark County School District Trustee who advocated for equity and accessibility for all.
Rev. Marion Bennett – Rev. Bennett served in the Nevada State Assembly, and was pastor of the Zion Methodist Church for more than 40 years.
Larry Bolden – Bolden served as deputy chief for technical services for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and was the the first African-American officer to achieve that rank with the organization. The Metro Police Area Command that watches over the Historic Westside is named for him.
Hattie Canty - In 1990, Canty became the first African-American president of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226. In 1991, Canty led a strike of 550 culinary workers from New Frontier Hotel-Casino. The strike lasted for more than six years.
Dr. John and Barbara Crear - One of the most honored and respected physicians in Nevada, Dr. Crear was the second African-American family practitioner in the State of Nevada and a founding member of the West/Crear Medical Society, the local chapter of the National Medical Association.
Barbara Crear worked the front office of Dr. Crear's practice and was a substitute teacher with the Clark County School District while being active in Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and community service.
Ruby Duncan - In the late 1960s, Duncan led the Welfare Rights Movement in Las Vegas. She co-founded Operation Life in 1972 to promote welfare reform and to improve the lives of those who lived in West Las Vegas. She served as the executive director of Operation Life from its inception in 1972 until 1990.
Huedillard "H.P." Fitzgerald – Fitzgerald was the first African-American man to graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno. After a 25-year career with the Clark County School District, including serving as the first African-American principal in Nevada, the first school to be built in West Las Vegas in 27 years was named after him in honor of his contributions to education and the community.
James Gay III - Gay was one of the first African-American hotel executives in Las Vegas in the 1950s. At that time his longtime friends Sammy Davis Jr., Nat ‘‘King’’ Cole and others were not allowed to stay overnight in strip hotels.
Theron and Naomi Jackson Goynes – Theron Goynes became the first African-American elected representative to officially head a government body as Mayor Pro-Tempore of North Las Vegas in September 1981.
In 1977, Naomi Jackson Goynes assisted in the revision of the kindergarten curriculum for the Clark County School District. She organized and implemented the first SRA Distar Reading, Language and Arithmetic Program in Las Vegas.
Judge Addeliar Dell Guy III - Upon passing the bar, Judge Guy became the first African-American deputy district attorney in Clark County and later the first African-American chief deputy district attorney. When he was appointed the bench he became the first African-American state judge as well.
J. David Hoggard – J. David Hoggard was a community activist and executive director of the Economic Opportunity Board of Clark County.
Mabel Hoggard - Mabel Hoggard was the first African-American teacher hired by the Clark County School District. She was a community activist and an advocate for the Westside Federal Credit Union.
John Howell - The first African-American in Clark County to legally own land, Howell’s property is now part of the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas.
Lubertha Johnson – A former president of the local chapter of the NAACP, Johnson was a nurse who worked to expand employment opportunities in Las Vegas. She also helped to enact open housing legislation in Nevada.
Charles Kellar – When Kellar arrived in Las Vegas he was an attorney, but he had to fight to be admitted to the State Bar of Nevada. A civil rights attorney, Kellar filed many lawsuits including one that ultimately led to the desegregation of the Clark County School District.
Sarann Knight-Preddy – A local business and gaming pioneer, Knight-Preddy was the first African-American woman to hold a Nevada Gaming License and broke barriers as she and others worked to desegregate the casino industry.
Dr. Esther Langston – Dr. Langston is recognized as the first African-American social worker in the State of Nevada. A teacher and mentor to many during more than 50 years of community activism.
Dr. James McMillan – The first African-American dentist in Las Vegas, McMillian was also a civil rights leader who helped to overturn Jim Crow laws in Nevada.
Daisy Miller – A teacher, mother and philanthropist, Miller took the concept of neighborhood parenting to another level living by the African proverb that "it takes a village to raise a child."
Det. Herman Moody – Det. Moody Served on the city of Las Vegas Police Department, and later with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for a total 31 years. He worked in patrol, traffic, larceny, vice/narcotics and the fugitive detail, all while mentoring hundreds of officers, including Deputy Chief Larry Bolden.
Sen. Joe Neal – In his 32 years in the Nevada State Senate Sen. Neal was a voice for the poor and Las Vegas’ working class. He was the First African-American elected to the Nevada State Senate, and helped lead the way on public safety improvements in commercial buildings following the deadly MGM fire in 1980.
Commissioner William and Maggie Pearson - Las Vegas's first black city council member, Commissioner Pearson helped bring the first library to West Las Vegas.
Maggie Pearson is known for being a charter member of The Links Las Vegas chapter, a volunteer organization committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African-Americans.
Lou and Vicki Richardson - In 1978 Richardson founded his namesake company Richardson Construction Inc. His company helped build our community with projects that encompass churches, libraries, community centers, fire stations, schools, parks and public art. His contribution to the Historic Westside Las Vegas’s built environment includes the Doolittle Senior Center, Pearson Community Center, Ruby Duncan Manor and more.
Vicki Richardson is president and a founder of Left of Center Art Gallery, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization located in the city of North Las Vegas, focusing on education through the arts, mentoring emerging artists and community involvement.
Rev. Jesse Scott - One of southern Nevada’s most influential and effective civil rights advocates, Rev. Scott served as executive director and later president of the local chapter of the NAACP. Rev. Scott also headed the Nevada Equal Rights Commission in the 1970s, focusing on improving minority hiring at Strip hotels.
Dr. William W. Sullivan - Associate Vice President for Retention and Outreach and Executive Director at UNLV's Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach, Dr. Sullivan has directed the TRIO, GEAR UP, and equity programs at UNLV since 1978.
Helen Toland – She served as the first African-American female school principal in the Clark County School District. She worked at Kit Carson elementary which as since been renamed after Toland.
Dr. Charles I. West – Dr. West was Las Vegas’ first African-American medical physician. First Black Medical Doctor in Nevada. He was a civil rights pioneer who paved the way for other African-American professionals in Las Vegas.
Brenda and Monroe Williams – Brenda Williams serves as an Interim Las Vegas City Councilwoman, and as a member of the city of Las Vegas Planning Commission. She was also a constituent services representative for Sen. Richard Bryan
Monroe Williams was the first African-American Fireman for the city of Las Vegas.
Woodrow Wilson – Wilson was the first African-American Nevada State Assemblyman and was appointed chairman of the Nevada State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1957. He was instrumental in the passage of the Nevada Fair Housing Bill.