Las Vegas Sun

February 8, 2016

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Sawyer Hails Decision

Lifting of Las Vegas' racial barrier passed its first test yesterday with flying colors as officials of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People reported that Negroes had been accepted very well in various downtown and Strip establishments they patronized.

"I think the people of Nevada have accepted the idea of integration 100 percent," said Dr. James B. McMillan, local president of the NAACP, in commenting on the Negroes acceptance in local establishments following assurances from downtown and Strip business that the policy of race discrimination in Las Vegas has ended.

McMillan pointed out that Negroes said yesterday they had been accepted very well in the the carious establishments they have entered.

"Unofficially," McMillan said, "We can go into any Strip hotel."

Dr. Charles West, NAACP executive council member, said "the businessmen are sticking to their word" of raising the color barrier. There have been no complaints, it was noted by the NAACP official.

"We're watching, hoping and waiting."

And West added, "There may be some problems somewhere but eventually they'll iron out themselves."

The announcement of the color barrier lift came Friday following a hurridely called meeting of NAACP officals, law enforcement officers, county commissioners Mayor Oran Gragson, Gov. Grant Sawyer and the press.

A mass demonstration by 300 Negroes slated to begin last night at 6 was cancelled by the local NAACP after McMillan said he had recived assurance from 90 percent of the businessmen that the racial barrier would be dropped.

At Friday's meeting McMillan lauded the efforts of SUN publisher Hank Greenspun and Mayor Gragson, who arranged for the meeting and acted as impartial emissaries to secure statements of policy from local businessmen.

Gov. Grant Sawyer, Mayor Gragson and the county commissioners promised the formation of a Race Relations Committee as advocated earlier by Greenspun. McMillan said the formation of the committee should be acted upon immediately.

Gov. Sawyer last night told the SUN he was "very pleased that everyone had taken the view to sit down and talk for the best interests of everyone."

Sawyer, who had just returned from Washington, D.C., said there is a great deal of interest in the East of this situation in Las Vegas.

Of the mass demonstration had gone ahead as scheduled, Sawyer said, "there might have been great damage to the state."

Sawyer concluded, "The meeting showed good will of all concerned."

The local NAACP had threatened a "peaceful but firm" demonstration in all places practicing racial segregation.

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