The Neon Museum is the perfect place to celebrate Black History Month this February
Dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the iconic neon signs of Las Vegas’ past for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment, The Neon Museum is the perfect place to celebrate Black History Month this February. Here, you can learn about important contributions of local Black leaders to Las Vegas history.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the La Concha Motel, which was designed by the pioneering African American architect Paul Revere Williams and houses The Neon Museum’s visitor center. Born on Feb. 18, Williams not only designed La Concha but also Berkley Square, a housing development in West Las Vegas that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Neon Boneyard also has several signs with interesting stories of notable Black Americans associated with businesses or sites that have deep roots in Las Vegas history, including:
- Moulin Rouge – the location of a pivotal civil rights meeting in March 1960 that ultimately led to an agreement that was the beginning of the end of segregation in hotels and casinos. Additionally, the first African American woman in Nevada to receive a gaming license for a club in Hawthorne, Sarann Knight-Preddy owned the Moulin Rouge for many years and was committed to restoring it to its former glory. The Moulin Rouge sign was reassembled and re-illuminated last year to its original layout in the Neon Boneyard.
- Silver Slipper – the site of a 1950’s NAACP program for Black History Month, at a time when it was almost impossible to rent a room for a Black event in a Strip or Downtown hotel/casino.
- Fitzgerald’s – Don Barden, owner of the former Fitzgerald’s Hotel and Casino (now The D) was one of the few African-American casino owners in the country.
These Black History facts are credited to the late Dorothy Wright, a long-time board member and an early architect of The Neon Museum. Her largest project was the relocation and reconstruction of the La Concha Motel lobby.