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Transcript of interview with Cleophis Williams by Claytee White, April 27, 2010






In 1943, Cleophis Hill Williams was a teenager visiting her mother who had moved to Las Vegas. For most of her young life she had lived with her parents in Muskogee, Oklahoma and Paul Spur/Douglas, Arizona. The same year that she visited Las Vegas, she met her future husband Tom Williams, with whom she had nine children, all born and raised on the Westside. Tom worked construction and built their first home on G Street. For Cleophis, she focused her life on raising her children and, whenever possible, finding some precious time to read.

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Williams, Cleophis Interview, 2010 April 27. OH-01986. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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i AN INTERVIEW WITH CLEOPHIS WILLIAMS An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White African American Collaborative Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©African Americans in Las Vegas: A Collaborative Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2012 COMMUNITY PARTNERS Henderson Libraries Las Vegas Clark County Public Libraries Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas Libraries Wiener-Rogers Law Library at William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas Las Vegas National Bar Association Vegas PBS Clark County Museum Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV – University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers, Editors and Project Assistants: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White, B. Leon Green, John Grygo, and Delores Brownlee, Melissa Robinson, Maggie Lopes iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the African Americans in Las Vegas: A Collaborative Oral History Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE In 1943, Cleophis Hill Williams was a teenager visiting her mother who had moved to Las Vegas. For most of her young life she had lived with her parents in Muskogee, Oklahoma and Paul Spur/Douglas, Arizona. The same year that she visited Las Vegas, she met her future husband Tom Williams, with whom she had nine children, all born and raised on the Westside. Tom worked construction and built their first home on G Street. For Cleophis, she focused her life on raising her children and, whenever possible, finding some precious time to read.v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Cleophis Williams April 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Claytee D. White Preface…………………………………………………………………………………………..iv Talks about family background, begins in Muskogee, Oklahoma where father was a sharecropper and then moves to Paul Spur/Douglas, Arizona where he works for a lime plant; history of lime plant and its enslavement of Mexican workers. Tells how her mother came to live in Las Vegas in early 1940s…...…………………………………………………………………………….1 – 4 Story about first visit to Las Vegas at age 17 with a girlfriend, becomes a dishwasher at either El Rancho or Last Frontier hotel; goes to Hanford, Washington, marries Tom, returns to live in Las Vegas in 1943. Tom built houses; including their house on G Street; they raised their nine children on the Westside..……………………………………………………………………..5 – 7 Speaks about the schools the children attended. Describes being a collector of news clippings and other memorabilia. Talks about Mansfield Toliver, an early black mortician. Describes life on Westside, Jackson Street clubs, restaurants, grocery store and other local businesses. …8 – 11 Mentions joining Zion Methodist Church later; that all her children live in Las Vegas. Tells that Berkley Square was a needed neighborhood when it was built in the 1950s and some recollections about early Las Vegas……………………………………………..…………12 – 17 1 This is Claytee White. It is April 27th, 2010. And I am with Mrs. Cleophis Williams in her home in Las Vegas. So how are you today? I'm fine. Thank you. And yourself? I'm very good. So today we're just going to talk a little about living in Las Vegas. But first I want you to tell me where you grew up and if you had any brothers and sisters. I had one sister. Her name was Ethel Mae. And where did you grow up? I was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, on April the 30th, 1926. And so what was that community like? It was a little farming community. Did your family do any farming? We didn't own any property. But [father] was a sharecropper. So tell me about your parents, their names and what they did for a living. My father was a sharecropper for a while. But he worked for the railroad. I guess maybe the Union Pacific Railroad. He was a section hand on the railroad in Oklahoma. Did he ever tell you about the work? Well, it was a job removing and replacing crossties on the railroad, long section of the railroad. He was called a section hand. What did your mom do? She was a housewife. What kinds of things did she cook in Oklahoma? Well, during the time that I grew up we lived country. So they planted a garden, raised their own food. Had no hydrants or anything back then. We prayed for rain so the garden would grow. If we had a good garden, we had plenty of vegetables to eat. During the Depression they canned the food in fruit jars. I grew up the same way. All right. So we'd have food to eat until the next year. Same thing over and over. No hydrants. Hadn't heard of a hydrant then. Just prayed. Depended on the good Lord for the rain. 2 So when your father was out working, did he have to stay overnight or was it in the area? It was in the area. Okay. Is that where you went to elementary school? Yes. When did you leave Oklahoma? At the age of 17 I left Oklahoma. My parents left. My dad left and went to Arizona looking for work. He had a job working at a lime plant at a place that was 11 miles from Douglas, Arizona. But the place was called Paul Spur, Arizona. There was a great mountain there and they would dynamite rocks from the mountain. They would burn in a kiln. It produced lime. It was a lime plant. And the person that owned it was named Alfred Paul. So they named the little place Paul Spur. So we lived in Paul Spur, Arizona for three years. The history about Paul Spur was the man had worked nothing but Mexicans there. He had enslaved them there and he never paid them money. He had things that looked -- well, this -- He paid them with scrip? Well, having the lime plant there, every time a person would -- you don't know how lime is produced? No. But I know that we used to use lime on the crops back in North Carolina. Lime was used for lots of things. Well, at this place there was a mountain. And this person named Alfred Paul Senior owned that mountain. And he had enslaved Mexicans there because Arizona and Mexico joining. And he had enslaved those Mexicans there that were grown men that had wives that were working there. They had never been off that place because everything that they needed Alfred Paul had it there for them, for food. And the Mexicans -- he could speak Spanish faster than they could. And in working at this lime plant and dumping this -- you had to have a wheelbarrow. And the rocks were burned in a kiln. And you shift gears on it and it burned. After it's burned three times, it's on the ground and you pick it up in lumps. You have a little hammer and you hit on it. It's all lime and there are little wheelbarrows of it. They emptied it. It was just boxcars. There was a railroad that ran past. And there were just boxcars of lime of all types that was used in whatever it's used in that was being produced there. 3 So was it that yellowish-greenish color? No. The rocks looked like -- Regular grayish rocks? Yes. But they were burned in a kiln and the kiln was fired by gas. And it would be burned two times and then it would be out on the ground. Then you have a little hammer and you peck on it, by wheelbarrows. Just boxcars, loads of them. So how did your parents find out about that place? Why did they go there to work? My dad caught a freight train. He left us in Oklahoma. He was leaving there going to find work wherever he could find it. But you know he ended up there? He ended up by riding this freight train going through Texas and wherever. He ended up there at that place. How was he treated? How was your family treated there by that man? Oh, they were treated all right. But it was the Mexicans that he had enslaved there. They didn't know any better. Just right out of Mexico, right into Arizona there, you know, joining places. Everything that they needed, they had it right there. I'm trying to think of how. The authorities -- oh, as they would do a wheelbarrow of lime, every time they dumped it they threw a little thing in there, a little metal thing. That's the way you count how many wheelbarrows of lime you have done that day. So the Mexicans had saved up a lot of that stuff. See, he had a grocery store and clothing and everything. They didn't have to leave that place to go anywhere to get anything. So this place, as I say the man's name was Alfred Paul and he called it Paul Spur, Arizona. It was 11 miles from Douglas, Arizona. So the Mexicans got tired of staying there and staying there; they saved up this stuff and went to Douglas, Arizona. They wanted to buy a car so they could leave that place, you know, go and come. And then the authorities said, Where did you get this? And they told where they got it from. The government got on Alfred Paul and told him they would put him in the penitentiary forever if he didn't pay those Mexicans money. So he had to pay them money, then black people and other people worked at that lime plant. And it produced lime in any way that lime needed to be used. 4 Wow. That's an interesting story. So after three years where did you move? Back to Oklahoma. Because my dad messed up one of the kilns, the newest one that the man had, and we had to leave. So my dad didn't have any place to go but back to Oklahoma. So we went back to Oklahoma and stayed awhile. In the meantime, my mom’s sister was living in Arizona, Buckeye, Arizona. By then the Depression and everything, you know, people even went there to pick cotton just to make money. Depression, I mean depressed, make money wherever you can. So my dad went to Buckeye. And that's when he heard about Paul Spur. That's why we went there. Oh. So that's how it happened. Uh-huh. But in going to Paul Spur he messed up one of the kilns. Then he didn't know where to go but back to Oklahoma. So tell me about Las Vegas. When did your father decide to move to Las Vegas? My father didn't move to Las Vegas. My mother did. My mom and dad were always separating all the time. If he would sneeze in her direction, she'd pick us up and leave, take us and leave. So there was a friend of theirs whose name was Bell—that they had known in Oklahoma. And the man, Bell, was living in Las Vegas. So my mom decided when she left my dad this time that she would come to Las Vegas. That's so long ago. Do you remember what kind of work she did when she first got here? She came here -- I can't remember. Let me think awhile. Okay, good. I can't remember what she did. She came here and worked. I know she came and stayed a year. But I don't know what kind of work she did. Did she work in any of the casinos or hotels or anything like that downtown? There were no hotels here then. So in 1943 didn't we have some small hotels downtown? Just down on Fremont Street, but nothing on the Strip. Right, because the Strip didn't start until later. 5 I'm trying to wonder what she did. I'm wondering. I think I came to Las Vegas before she did. But she had left my dad. They separated so many times. Every time he sneezed in her direction, she got up and left. Do you remember what you were doing the first time you came here? When I came here I was 17 years old. A girlfriend and I came together. But it was my idea that we came because her father was disappointed with her in something she had done. So I said let's go to Las Vegas where Momma is. And we came to Las Vegas. We were the same age. Her birthday was December; mine was April. Anyway, we were both 17 years old when we came to Las Vegas. I got a job working I believe -- where is my history thing here? I know we didn't go to school. We had to work. Had you already finished high school? No, I didn't. I'm a ninth grader and was promoted to tenth grade. I think I'm a tenth grader. I educated myself by reading. Reading good books and stuff. But when I came to Las Vegas, I was 17 and Mom thought I was going to go to school. And I said no; if you can work for yourself, I can work for mine. And that's when I think I was hired as a dishwasher at one of those hotels. I think so. What did your girlfriend do? I think I was hired as a dishwasher and she was hired as a maid in one of the hotels. It's been so long I don't know because it wasn't but one or two hotels on the Strip then when we came. So it was the El Rancho and the Last Frontier that was the first two. When I came to Las Vegas, (my future husband) had a wife that was his second wife. And she was a cousin to my girlfriend that I came to Las Vegas with. And the second wife that he had, she had a relative that had gone to Hanford, Washington. She had an uncle. No, he didn't work. He was a gambler. He didn't work. Had some relative that went to Hanford and they were hiring people to work. Anyway, her father had it out with her for some reason. And I said to her let's go to Las Vegas where Mom is. And when we came here -- I got hired as a maid. So one of you was a maid and one was washing dishes. At one of those hotels, El Rancho or the Last Frontier. I forget which hotel. And after that -- 6 So you went to Washington -- This uncle of hers, this person had heard about this job in Hanford, Washington. And the job in Hanford, Washington was they were making that poisonous gas that went into that first bomb that they dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. And they were hiring people up there; that's what was going on in Hanford, Washington. They had barracks up there. So you would have your own room, your own key, your own bed. You know, they furnished all that. But that is the secret thing that was going on in Hanford, Washington. They were hiring people from wherever, you know, come to Hanford. I lived up there three years. And that's where I met my husband. Everybody went to Hanford, Washington to work in 1941, '2 and '3. That's what was going on in Hanford, Washington. And this person was there working as well? Uh-huh. My husband [Tom] was. Okay. And he had left his wife in Las Vegas to go up there and work. In the meantime, she had gotten busy in Las Vegas and was courting and going on. He had married her when she was 17. And her parents told him if you don't get along with her, send her back to us, bring her back. Anyway, she wrote and told him that she wanted a divorce. So he came back to Las Vegas from up at Hanford to send her back to her parents. In fact, he took her back. He had a car. And then he went on back up there. And she wrote him a letter and said you may be surprised to know that I am back in Las Vegas. So anyway -- I'm forgetting what I'm telling you. So she came back to Las Vegas and he went back to Hanford. She wrote him a letter and said that she was back in Las Vegas. You might be surprised to know that. Okay. And so after then and everything -- and I was working up there -- then he started talking to me. We courted and got married up there. We went to Seattle, Washington and got married. Then I got pregnant up there, got sick. It was a tube pregnancy. The doctors didn't know what was wrong with me and I was as thin as a dime and hemorrhaging. So being up there on a government job and those doctors up there not -- he brought me back to Las Vegas. They found out I was pregnant in my tube and I had surgery. Then we stayed here in the house that he had here, a little house at 912 G Street, right around the corner from here. As I say his natural gift was he built houses. So he built houses all around here 7 for his friends. So did he sell them? They paid him, but he didn't charge them much. But he built lots of houses in Las Vegas for his friends. Wow. So what kind of work did he do that he got paid for? He was a truck driver on a construction job. He drove trucks. Okay. And so you had two, four, six -- Nine. You had nine children. Yes. Five girls and four boys. That is amazing. That youngest one there as I said he was born on my 43rd birthday. Yes. And what was his name? Ivan. So Ivan was the one who was here a few minutes ago. Uh-huh. Now, Carl went to school at the Westside School. Yes. Tell me about those days. How did Carl get back and forth to school? Well, we lived in Westside. It's right around there on D Street, D and Washington. They could walk to school. Okay. Did all of your kids start to school there? Let me see. How many schools were here? There was only Westside School. Did Carl tell you anything about Westside School? Uh-huh. You know where the radio station is now? Yeah. Okay. That's where the school is. Right over there on D Street, D near the freeway. Okay. I'm on G. Yeah, Westside School. There were only two schools, Westside -- ooh, boy. 8 So who was living in this community at that time? What kind of people? Mexicans lived here before blacks came. My husband bought this lot from a Mexican couple. And we kept it 20 years before we built this house on it. So that's when you lived around the corner. At 912 G. Then we lived over there at 615 Jefferson that's around the corner. Like I said we bought this lot and kept it that long before we built this house here. So the Westside School, did all of your kids go to school there? There were only two schools, Westside and Las Vegas High School. There were only two. Okay. So that's where they stated school. Uh-huh, at Westside. After Westside School they built Madison School. Madison was on Madison Street there. And after attending school at Madison, then they went to Las Vegas High School. Did most of them start school at Westside School? I guess all of them started at Westside. Westside was a grade school. I think when they got about fifth or sixth grade, then they went to Madison. Then they went to Las Vegas High School. So do you remember participating in school activities? I was a member of the PTA. Do you remember that? Vaguely, yes. What memories do you have of it? Boy, that's so long ago and bringing up all those kids and all that stuff. Let me see if I can find them things by looking at these pictures here -- What kind of pictures do you have there? -- because this is a whole lot of Westside information. So is that Verlia Hoggard right there? I think so. Yep. So I have the history of what's going on here in Las Vegas in pictures and things because anything that you really wanted to especially know -- see. Like this. That is the graduates of 1970. All of those. Do you have any photographs of the Westside? 9 I don't know. I'm just a historian keeping stuff. There's Mrs. Coretta King. I was just -- I don't know. I was a reader of books. I always wanted to write one, but I had so many children – it took up so much time. Review-Journal pays tribute to black citizens, whoever they were. And so what I want you to do in the future when you cut out something from the newspaper, put the date on it. Yeah, that would be -- Put the date on it from now on. Well, I wanted to write all this stuff down about all these people and everything, but raising children took up all my time. Oh, yes. That's a full-time job. You can see this is old. I'm just gathering stuff. That's great. I think that's a wonderful way to keep history. Uh-huh. It was all about black people. Yes. And just put the date on it and then we'll know when things happened. I did it in pictures and things. I even have a picture of Reverend Bennett. Oh, that's when he was young. Oh, yeah. He came here young. And on the other side, Las Vegas High School Black Assembly. I did the history in pictures instead of writing it down. You can see it's old. Yes. That's great. When I was talking to your son Carl the other day, he was telling me that the first person that came here to be a mortician was not Jimmy Gay. It was someone else. It was a man named Mansfield Toliver. Okay. Now, tell me where was he from? I have no idea where he came from. And do you know how early was he in Las Vegas? I don't know how early he was, but he was long before Jimmy Gay. So where did he work, which funeral home? 10 Wasn't but about two. I can't remember the name of them. Was it the one in this area, Palms, or was it someplace else? That's a good question. I think Palms was the first one here. I guess it had to be Palms. Now, Jimmy Gay worked at the same one, Palms. (I'm going to pause the recorder.) So we were talking about Mansfield Toliver. Yeah. He was the first mortician. What did you ask him about him? I wanted to know where he worked. It was only two mortuaries here. It was Palms and -- Is it Davis? Davis must have come later. Palms and Bunker Brothers were the only two here when I came. And Mansfield worked for Bunker Brothers. But I can't remember what year. But I came here in 1943. And he was licensed to do embalming? Yeah, he was a licensed person. So how did we get the information that it was Jimmy Gay? How did that start? Jimmy Gay came to Las Vegas long after Mansfield Toliver had been here. So how did the story start? Because people make up things and say because they really didn't know. Somebody that hasn't been in Las Vegas when Mansfield was, they thought that Jimmy Gay was the first one. But he was not. Mansfield worked for -- it was either Palms or Bunker Brothers because there were only two mortuaries here then, back then. So, you know, we always like to say we know what we don't know. But I'm just telling you. That's why we do these interviews, so that we can know what really happened. Well, truly Mansfield Toliver was the first one. And he worked for Bunker Brothers. Okay. Tell me about the Westside. What kind of place was it to live? What did you do for recreation? Back then? There was no recreation. For recreation? What about the clubs on Jackson Street? On Jackson Street when I came here in 1943 at the age of 17, there was nothing on Jackson Street 11 but the Harlem Club -- what was on Jackson? What about the Cotton Club? Cotton Club came long after. There was nothing happening anywhere but on Jackson Street. I think the Louisiana Club. They were the first two clubs. Louisiana Club and the Harlem Club were the only two when I came. So did you go to those clubs? I wasn't old enough. I came here at 17. But I think I told you I came here, but then I left and came back again. So once you and your husband came back as a married couple, did the two of you go to the clubs then? I didn't. It wasn't my thing to do. He would go because he liked to gamble. I think the only thing that we were doing were playing pool and gambling at the beginning. And then I started raising a family early. So I just wasn't a club person. What about the restaurants over here? What kinds of other businesses were there? There was a place called Mom's Kitchen. You could buy any -- well, whatever she was cooking. It was soul food. But I didn't acquaint that either. I mean I wasn't attracted to visiting the clubs and things like that. What kinds of other businesses were over here? The first thing that I remember being on the Westside that people could -- Ms. Hughes had a grocery store. She was a widowed woman. Had one son -- had a grown son and then she gave birth to another son much later. Hughes Grocery Store. Most of the people on the Westside were going to Ms. Hughes's Grocery Store before they were even going downtown to do anything when I came here. Where did you buy clothes? You went downtown. Downtown wasn't even built up that much when I came here. I guess JCPenney. Maybe I'm thinking Montgomery Wards I believe was downtown. Was it Sears? Ronzone's had a dress shop. There wasn't too much. It wasn't very much downtown. Really the people didn't think that Las Vegas would grow to anything because what attracted people to Las 12 Vegas is people working on that dam. And that's where people came to work on the dam because it was a depression and a job was a job. So after the dam was built, then I think some of them went back home where they had come from. But I did know two old people that worked on the dam. And I knew the name of the first two black people. They were women. They were born in Clark County. One of the names was Natalie -- let me see. I don't make up lies. Let me see. It was an old man. One of them was named Ralph Simpson. What was that other man's name? Maybe I wrote it. I started to do this thing and I just put it away. Natalie and -- Ralph Simpson. The first two people that were born in Las Vegas were Natalie -- I think I wrote it on something. Okay. So now, was that back in 1905? I don't remember the year. I had it written down somewhere. I always wanting to be writing stuff and writing stuff, but as I started raising children and going on and everything, what I wrote -- what did I do with that? Did I write it on -- let's see if I wrote it down. The first two, I knew their parents. Ralph Simpson and -- it's not telling me anything. The first two blacks that were born in Clark County? I don't know what I did with that. I started writing and put it away. So tell me where did you start attending church, the first church that you started attending here? Let me see. I guess it was Second Baptist. I guess the first one was Second Baptist. But all my family were Baptists, my mom and all of them. But I didn't like the Baptist Church. I'm Methodist. And I was 43 years old before I joined any church to be a member. I don't know why. Oh, I know. The Baptist people were slow to me. In what way? Educational. So mentally. Mentally. And it seemed like the Methodist people were more educated. That's one regret that I have that going to school I didn't get to finish high school, get a diploma. But I read lots of books and whatever to educate myself. Seemed like the Baptist people, they didn't read. But the Methodist people did. They were more educated. So I joined a Methodist church when I was 43 years old. 13 Now, tell me about your children. I met Carl. And I just met Ivan. Are most of the others still here in Las Vegas? All of them were born here and they all live here. So my whole family lives here, all of us. Great. So Carl told me what happened to him. How did that affect the family? Well, I don't know what Carl told you. But I don't believe it happened like Carl said it did. Carl was into himself. Oh, his hair was long, and not that up there. That was before that. Let me see if I have any pictures of Carl with his hair all long. And he thought he was all that and a bag of chips. True. Some people get hung up on their color and stuff like that. Carl wasn't raised up the way he started out acting. Carl was picking pockets and doing whatever and everything. And I do believe to this day that he had his hand in somebody's pocket and they were close enough to put their gun to his head. It had to be. That's why the bullet didn't exit the back of his head. You ever shot a gun? Yes. I'm a country girl. I know I done killed rabbits and all that stuff. I grew up, you know. I think he had his hand in somebody's pocket and they put the gun to his head and shot. And there was nowhere for that bullet to travel. So it just went and stopped back there. Okay. But I was talking about the fact that he was shot. And he told me he was in a coma for about three months. He was. So how did all of that affect the other members of the family? Well, we prayed and everything. He just wasn't supposed to die. I was very attentive to him being the mom and everything. But I don't believe a second the answers that he say, you know. So maybe he wants to stick with that. That's on him. But the life he was living, I don't believe what he said is true about how he got that bullet. Because, see, I used to have long hair. But when you get old you get bald and forgetful. And once a man and twice a time, all that stuff happens. Yes. Yes. Yeah. So if he wants to stick with that, that's okay for him to tell it. But God knows the truth. So do you have any other memories of Westside School and your children attending there? Well, they were all born here and they all grew up here. 14 But do you remember going over there for programs? Yeah. I went to programs and things. Do you remember any of them? Any of the programs that they interacted with? Or any of the community activities that happened at the school? I was a member of the PTA. I attended whatever they were involved in. But any outstanding things -- Not outstanding, just regular. Do you remember going to any of the basketball games? I didn't attend many of them. Wasn't nothing about the basketball too much. I don't remember. Any community activities that you remember? Like I say I was a member of the PTA. I attended those community activities. If it wasn't church activities, then that's about all I was involved in. So you were just here raising a family. And listening to all these preachers around here, I didn't believe them. And just like this town is a hustling town and whatever is going on is going on, I think the preachers were all preaching to get money. There never has been any need of all these churches. How many churches are there right here in this little area? Too many of them. So just like gambling and going on, there never was a need, but it was to get money that you don't work for. That's the way I saw it. So why did you see Zion as being different? They were more educated. A lot of illiterate people. That's one thing that I didn't get a chance to do. I wanted to get a diploma from high school. But I had a living to make. I had to make a living for myself and I went to work. Started working for myself, not depending on my parents for anything. I hit the road for myself at the age of 17. I never looked back. Did your father ever move to Las Vegas? No. When you think of the old Westside School building now -- it is now going to be a historic landmark -- what would you like to see happen to it? How would you like to see it used? Well, still as a learning place for teaching something, not just to sit there and be a building. I 15 would like to see it still be used for educational purposes. Some kind of educational purpose either for young, old or somebody thinking. So you were also here when the Moulin Rouge opened in 1955. Do you remember that? Yeah. Tell me about that time period. A lot of people were coming into the Westside. Berkley Square was built. Do you remember that time period, the mid 50s? Uh-huh. Anything special about it? Berkley Square, it was needed. And the people did need decent homes to live in because when I came here people were living in tents. Well, they called it really the "Little Mississippi of the West" because there was segregation even in the movies. When you go into the movies -- let me see. Which was it? Who was up and who was down? I think it was upstairs at the movies. I think blacks sit upstairs. I don't want to get it wrong. But there was segregation in the movies. I don't know who sat upstairs. I believe the blacks were sitting up there and the whites were downstairs. That's what happened in my hometown. Blacks sat upstairs and whites sat downstairs. Okay. That's why they called it the "Little Mississippi of the West" because the southerners -- yeah, discrimination. So any other memories of the Westside and what happened here? Politically? Socially? Education? Religion? Any of those? Recreation? Anything that you remember that you would like to talk about? You asked me about the churches. I didn't believe in all of these churches. I mean the population didn't demand all of these churches. So I figured they all had a church in order to get money that they didn't work for. They were very illiterate. I just say pitching the public for money. So always the Methodist people were more educated than these Baptist people. All my relatives -- my parents, their parents -- all Baptist, Baptist, Baptist. But