Audio recording clip of interview with Samuel E. Wright by Claytee D. White, October 8, 2010
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Part of an interview with Samuel E. Wright conducted by Claytee D. White on October 8, 2010. Wright explains what led to the formation of the F Street Coalition and the initiation of neighborhood preservation efforts.
Give me some information about that F Street Coalition. Tell me what happened recently — well, first, before we talk about the F Street, let's bring ourselves up to that. What happened in the Department of Transportation after that arterial was put in? Anything else noteworthy that you want to talk about? Well, first of all, I'd like to talk about what had happened earlier on. This was not the first time the situation with F Street had occurred. In our research we discovered that back in the late sixties, early seventies, the State of Nevada Department of Transportation had a program, not just a project, a program to close all of the lettered streets - A, B, C, D, E and F, G and H. They were going to close all of them off. And what they wound up doing is they closed off A and B and C. 30 D was left open. With the freeway? That's right, with the freeway. And D was left open. Let's see. E's closed off. F was left open. G is closed off. And H was left open. Okay? So at the time they wanted to close all those streets off. Mother Pearson, bless her heart, and some of the other community people got together and they raised such a stink that they were forced to reopen F and D. So this was not the first time that this occurred. Why did the Department of Transportation want to close off all those streets? Transportation departments not only in Las Vegas but throughout the country have built their roads, especially their freeways, in communities where the people have very little power, they think, and where the land is cheap in order to save the public in general money, which meant to a large extent putting freeways through minority communities. And they really didn't care about whether the people in those minority communities had access. The priority was to bring people from the suburbs and outside the city into the city and through it. And so this historically has happened all over the nation. So what was done here I'm not surprised about what was done because it's been done in many other places. Okay. I know this is naive, but what difference did it make? Okay, so this freeway went through and the freeway took A through C. What difference did it make to the Department of Transportation about D through H? What difference did it make? It didn't make any difference as a matter of fact. When these people plan these roads, they don't even think about the minority communities that they're cutting off. To them that's not important. It's kind of like when you're planting something in your yard, you don't care about the ants and the other little insects that are crawling around. All you care about is putting the plants in. So if you tear up their homes and whatever that's in the ground, oh, okay, because what's important is to get your plant in there never mind their homes, never mind the pathways that they use to go from one side of your yard to the other. They just don't count. That's the attitude. That has historically been the attitude. It's only when the ants rise up and bite you that you pay attention to the fact that they even exist. That's the attitude of the people who have run transportation departments in this state and throughout the country. And in many parts of the country the ants have risen up and 31 bitten, which is why we have federal laws and state laws that demand citizen participation. It was so bad in New York there was a gentleman there named Bob Moses. And Bob Moses was an absolute autocrat and he was just building freeways all throughout the city. Not only did he destroy minority communities, he did it in white communities as well. He didn't care. They were all ants to him. He just built wherever he wanted until finally the people in the City of New York rose up against him and had him tossed out of office. The ants do rise up and bite. After that occurred it started happening all over the nation. Then the federal government decided, well, we better do something and they instituted citizen participation laws and requirements for notice about what they're going to do and giving citizens an opportunity to protest it and make changes. So what happened in both of these cases is they didn't give the notice in the sixties nor did they give proper notice in 2004 when they started planning all of this for the current closing of F Street. The notifications that were given out were done in locations where a great majority of the people would not have known much about them. They gave the notice all right, but they gave it in the Nevada Department of Transportation office in one case and in another case they gave a notice way out in North Las Vegas about what they were doing in the City of Las Vegas. And this was done with the knowledge of the Nevada Department of Transportation and the City of Las Vegas, but they didn't think anybody would pay attention or would care. As usual people don't until they see the bulldozers start to work in the neighborhood. When people started seeing the bulldozers starting to come on F Street that's when they got upset and that's when the ants started to fight back.
- Wright, Samuel E, White, Claytee D
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- Chicago citation style
- Wright, Samuel E, White, Claytee D. Audio recording clip of interview with Samuel E. Wright by Claytee D. White, October 8, 2010. 2010-10-08. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, http://utah-primoprod.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=MWDL&afterPDS=true&docId=digcoll_unl_14ohr/141. (Accessed November 17, 2018.)
- APA citation style
- Wright, Samuel E, White, Claytee D, (2010-10-08) Audio recording clip of interview with Samuel E. Wright by Claytee D. White, October 8, 2010. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, http://utah-primoprod.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=MWDL&afterPDS=true&docId=digcoll_unl_14ohr/141
- MLA citation style
- Wright, Samuel E, White, Claytee D. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America <http://utah-primoprod.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=MWDL&afterPDS=true&docId=digcoll_unl_14ohr/141>.