Local News


The great migration of African Americans

Posted at 7:07 AM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 16:22:51-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In the 1940s, many African American's traveled to Las Vegas in search of jobs and a better life.

They found opportunity in Henderson, according to Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV.

"Migration of African Americans to Las Vegas was sparked by World War II," White said.

"There were jobs here that African American men were allowed to work," she added. "Those jobs were at a plant called Basic Magnesium Incorporated."

White said thousands of workers moved into the town site and it became a magnet for blacks hoping for a future. It was the premier site for magnesium used the U.S. government.

"The Germans already had the technology processing magnesium to build bullets and airplanes and all kinds of war materials," she said. "The United States needed that same kind of technology so the federal government built that factory."