Celebrate Black History Month this February at The Neon Museum
LAS VEGAS (Jan. 24, 2022) – Dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the iconic neon signs of Las Vegas’ past for educational, historic, artistic, and cultural enrichment, The Neon Museum is the perfect place to celebrate Black History Month and learn about important contributions of local Black leaders to Las Vegas history.
“The Neon Museum presents guests with an unforgettable way to learn more about the stories of diverse individuals and their contributions to our city’s history through our beautiful and iconic neon signs,” said Aaron Berger, executive director of The Neon Museum. “This Black History Month we will focus specifically on telling the stories of Blacks who shaped our history and culture as well as properties that have unique ties to the Black community and advancing civil rights.”
Berger added that The Neon Museum’s newest addition, the Las Vegas Luminaries mural on the south wall of its North Gallery, pays tribute to a diverse, dedicated and sometimes overlooked cast of icons, including famous and lesser-known Blacks who helped to shape Las Vegas’ cultural history, including:
- Theodora Boyd, a pioneering African American showgirl from the Moulin Rouge and back up dancer for famed jazz band leader Cab Callaway.
- Sammy Davis Jr., an African American singer, dancer, actor, comedian, and civil rights activist who regularly performed in Las Vegas in the 1940s-80s as part of the Will Maston Trio and as a member of the Rat Pack.
- Paul Revere Williams, a trailblazing Black architect who designed many notable works, including homes for Hollywood stars and the La Concha Motel, whose lobby is the present-day visitor center for The Neon Museum. Born on Feb. 18, Williams also designed Berkley Square, a West Las Vegas housing development that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Various signs in the museum’s Neon Boneyard also offer 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 has been reassembled and re-illuminated 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.
Editor’s Note: photos of signs and mural icons mentioned above are available for downloaded at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8l5smvfxg6tigg8/AADO7qFORoX5NKaaM7v-dVOma?dl=0. Please credit The Neon Museum.
ABOUT THE NEON MUSEUM:
Founded in 1996, The Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying, and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. It has been ranked No. 1 in Las Vegas Weekly’s list of “Twenty Greatest Attractions in Las Vegas History,” Nevada’s “Best Museum” by MSN, one of the 10 best museums in Las Vegas by USA Today’s 10best.com, “One of the Top 10 Coolest Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do” by Forbes.com, one of the “Top 10 Historic Spots in Las Vegas” by Vegas.com; one of “15 Most Fascinating Museums in the U.S.” by VacationIdea.com; and earns a consistent 4.5 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor. On its 2.27-acre campus, The Neon Museum has an outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard (“boneyard” is traditionally the name for an area where items no longer in use are stored); the North Gallery, home to the immersive audiovisual experience “Brilliant!” which uses technology to re-illuminate more than 40 non-operational signs; the Boulevard Gallery outdoor exhibit and event space; and its visitors’ center inside the former La Concha Motel lobby. The museum collection also includes nine restored signs installed as public art in downtown Las Vegas. Public education, outreach, research, and arts preservation represent a selection of the museum’s ongoing projects. For more information, including tour schedules and tickets, visit www.neonmuseum.org. Also follow @NeonMuseum on Facebook and Twitter and @theneonmuseumlasvegas on Instagram.
MEDIA CONTACT: Amy E. S. Maier, The Warren Group, [email protected], 702-904-0296