Greater Las Vegas has long been the fastest growing metropolitan area in America.
And almost every aspect of its citizens' lives is influenced by the almighty power of the gambling industry. A team of fifteen reporters led by David Littlejohn, together with prize winning photo-journalist Eric Gran, studied the "real" Las Vegas--the city beyond the Strip and Downtown--for the better part of a year. They talked to teenagers whose suicide and dropout rates frighten parents , senior citizens many of whom spend their days playing bingo and the slots , Mexican immigrants who build the new houses and clean the hotels , homeless people and angry blacks, as well as local police, active Christians, city officials, and prostitutes.
They looked into the local churches, the powerful labor unions, pawn shops, the real estate boom, defiant ranchers to the north, and dire predictions that the city is about to run out of water. Proud Las Vegans claim that theirs is just a friendly southwestern boomtown--"the finest community I have ever lived in," says Bishop Daniel Walsh, who comes from San Francisco.
But their picture of Las Vegas as a vibrant, civic-minded metropolis conflicts with evidence of transiency, rootlessness, political impotence, and social dysfunction. In this close-up investigation of the real lives being led in America's most tourist-jammed, gambling-driven city, readers will discover a Las Vegas very different from the one they may have seen or imagined. Blacks were allowed to entertain or work in casinos, but they were not allowed to attend shows, live in the casino district, or obtain or renew business licenses.
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The area was booming by the s and s, in part due to the ammunition depot at nearby Hawthorne, but also because black entertainers who worked in the clubs on the strip weren't allowed to stay on the strip. When they finished their performances, they came to party, relax, or jam at the Westside clubs.
The Real Las Vegas: Life beyond the Strip
It had all the same amenities — gourmet food, pool, casino, lounge, and showroom — as hotels on the strip. In , the City of Las Vegas passed an ordinance that forbade black dealers,  but in the same year, for the first time gambling regulations were passed which set up inspectors and a Gaming Control Board. One of the first inspectors was Clarence Ray ,  who would later operate the only licensed dealing school to train black dealers for work on the strip at the beginning of desegregation. Many people in the community felt there was an effort to prevent blacks from owning clubs.
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They were unable to obtain liquor licenses, so they opened a coffee shop there and ran the hotel for three years before it failed again. They got contracts signed, were promised federal loan funds, had a feasibility study completed and made a marketing video. Knight-Preddy, her husband Joe Preddy and their son, James Walker, made another attempt to revive the Moulin Rouge in the early s, and had difficulty obtaining licenses.
Historical clubs include B.
THE REAL LAS VEGAS by David Littlejohn | Kirkus Reviews
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