This week, Ira spoke with John L. Smith.
John L. Smith is the author of “Westside Slugger: Joe Neal’s Lifelong Fight for Social Justice,” which presents the story of civil rights in Las Vegas and Nevada through the eyes and experience of Joe Neal, a history-making state lawmaker. The book is published by University of Nevada Press.
In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Smith talks about Senator Neal’s experience as a young man, which forged in him a determination for taking strong stands on unpopular (at the time) political and civil rights issues; his tenacity in promoting ideas and laws that were challenging to the status quo; his decision to enter politics; and the impact he left on both the political process and Nevada itself.
Nevada native Smith is a freelance writer, journalist, and author of more than a dozen books. He writes an award-winning weekly column for The Nevada Independent, offers weekly commentary on National Public Radio station KNPR, is a stringer for Reuters and a contributor to The Daily Beast and other publications.
Smith spent three decades as a daily columnist with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the state’s largest newspaper, and garnered many state and national awards for his work. In 2016, he was part of a group of the Las Vegas Review-Journal staffers to receive the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics from the University of Oregon, the Society of Professional Journalists award for Ethics, and the Medill Medal for Courage from Northwestern University.
Smith was featured in the 2017 Brian Knappenberger documentary “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press,” available on Netflix. He splits his time living in Las Vegas, NV and Santa Fe, New Mexico.