Monday, November 19, 2007

Flashback Part 1!

A historical educational presentation commerating the Productions contribution to Black Culture, diversity, and community involvement; A legacy of efforts in creating, promoting and funding opportunities for Las Vegans.

Exhibit Author: John T. Stephens II

I never imagined that a box of old pictures, program books, news clippings, proclamations and letters would interest anyone. After all, these were my link to a time in my past. My dimension and my measurement of existence all neatly packed away in this old and torn cardboard box. My own personal memorabilia of an event that brought a small community of Black people together at DooLittle Recreation Center (Las Vegas Nevada) with one beckoning call, “Black Extravaganza ‘68”

Our production existed from 1968 to 1976. We missed one year during that span, 1970. The Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity sponsored the first four shows. However, sponsor dependence led us (Willie Jacobs Jr. and myself) to Las Vegas Mayor Oran Gregson who suggested and guided us to our own non-profit corporation and our production was off and running.

So now, Here I was 38 years later from that first show in 1968 standing in the gallery of the Summerlin Library (Jan. 2006) and talking to visitors who were viewing this display of the Black Extravaganza Productions.

The Summerlin Theater was featuring R&B guitarist Mr. Huck Daniels and friends in a musical dedication to Black music. Mr. Huck Daniels and his band, “The Soul Patrol”, performed in our first two shows at the DooLittle Center. On this 2006 occasion, I presented him with a poster frame picture of him with his band, which set and broke attendance records at the Plaza Hotel & Casino Lounge in 1973. Huck is a long time musical fixture in Las Vegas and is considered the longest performing lounge entertainer in Las Vegas.

This exhibit fills some of that void of curiosity and inquiry about Blacks in Las Vegas during that interval of racial equality. The exhibit clearly illustrates the cultural presence and efforts of a community dealing with the ills of racial discrimination. We (Blacks) were alive and well in Las Vegas and were pounding the door to equality. Watching those neon establishments over and across the tracks, we consoled ourselves with song, dance, fashions, music, and art. We secured, we endured and we assured by our own conscious commitment to aspire to a better life in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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