The streets of Downtown Las Vegas vibrated with joy, community and celebration of equality and unity at the 42nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.

DJ Thump and the Jammin’ 105.7 crew marched the streets and honored the work, legacy and sacrifice of the great civil rights leaders who came before us.

It Was A Family Reunion At The 42nd Annual MLK Parade in Las Vegas

Feelings of joy pierced the air with chapters of sororities and fraternities coming together, laughing and enjoying the ambiance of the parade. Chapters started to stroll, and it felt like a party with claps and encouraging energy invigorating the mood.

It felt like a family reunion when we started walking down the parade’s path. DJ Thump blasted music that kept the crowd moving and jumping. The parade snaked down 4th Street with people from all calibers of life, joining together to have unity and feelings of remembrance.

This is a parade perfect for all ages with imperative themes being the forefront of the parade’s mission.

Prior to the parade’s start, feelings of anticipation emerged. Dance teams were practicing their routines, marching band members preparing for their performance and other floats were getting into formation.

According to reporting from the Las Vegas Review Journal, about 500 people were estimated to have attend the parade.

Civil Rights History in Las Vegas

The Great Migration, economic opportunity and industries for war efforts brought a great deal of Black people, Asian people and Latino people into the Las Vegas area.

When it comes to the casino and gaming industry, many Black workers were unable to event enter through the front door.

According to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, “Blacks had to go in through the kitchens in order to work or perform in the hotel casinos. The city had world-renowned entertainers coming here – Nat King Cole, Pearl Bailey, Lena Horne, Sammy Davis, Jr. – and they had to enter through the kitchen. And they could not stay at those resorts. They have to live in boarding houses in the Westside, across the tracks.”

UNLV further reports that by March 26, 1960, there were integrated public accommodations. Although this was earlier in comparison to other communities who wouldn’t integrate until 1964, this didn’t mean that things were still equal or even honored when it came to civil rights and equal access to services.

In 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke in Las Vegas. However, UNLV states that, “Not many details are known about the content of his speech, but he spoke at the NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet, its largest fundraiser.”

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