Home Airports Las Vegas Leaders Urge To Rename McCarran Airport Due To Racist History

Las Vegas Leaders Urge To Rename McCarran Airport Due To Racist History

by SharonKurheg

Our country is in a state of flux right now. Many white people are finally becoming more aware of the racism that people of color experience on a daily or near-daily basis. Not only that, but many are getting motivated to do something about this problem that’s plagued our country since its very beginning.

With that, statues of historic-but-racist members of our society are being removed, branding of items that included insensitive portrayals of POC are being changed, and now an entire airport might potentially get a new name.

Patrick McCarran, was a Nevada Senator from 1933 to 1954. He was considered a major proponent of the aviation industry in the 1930s, and sponsored key legislation that eventually helped shape modern-day air travel into how it is today. Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport was named after McCarran in 1948.

However, McCarran was also known to be racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic. His efforts encompassed trying to restrict immigration (including Jewish people following the Holocaust), attempts to block Jewish judicial candidates nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the passage of the McCarran Internal Security Act, which allowed for revocation of citizenship and limits on free speech. Naming an airport after someone like that might have been acceptable in the past, but nowadays it’s definitely not OK.

All but one member of Nevada’s congressional delegation have recently written a letter to Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak, to not only change the name of the airport, but to also remove the statue of McCarran that’s in the U.S. Capitol.

“While Senator McCarran fought for workers’ rights and sponsored legislation that helped shape the modern air travel industry, his dark legacy of virulent racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia have no place representing Nevada in the United States Capitol,” the letter read in part. “Our state…should embody Nevada’s values as a compassionate, diverse and welcoming state.”

Some leaders in Las Vegas suggest that changing the name of the airport would not change history. They’re absolutely right. However, wrongs can still be righted and modern-day history doesn’t and shouldn’t include honoring a bigot.

Sisolak himself tried to rename the airport early in his career as governor. Perhaps this time it can finally happen.

Feature Photo: Mliu92/Wikimedia

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and get emailed notifications of when we post. Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group – we have 13,000+ members and we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


mowogo June 21, 2020 - 11:42 am

I’d say we should get ready for Las Vegas-Newton International Airport, or they offer the bidding rights for sale and we get Las Vegas-MGM Resorts International Airport.

Joe Richardson June 21, 2020 - 1:19 pm

Rename everything that’s named after a white person.

SharonKurheg June 21, 2020 - 1:23 pm

That probably wouldn’t suck, to be perfectly honest. What Person of Color would you like to see the airport named after?

AlohaDaveKennedy June 21, 2020 - 10:33 pm

Smart thinking Joe! What are we gonna rename all the streets that say Martin Luther King? Michael King assumed the name of white Martin Luther in 1957. Guess we got a lot of statues, street signs and monuments to pull down and rename by your logic.

SharonKurheg June 21, 2020 - 10:42 pm

You’re so funny – you know that it’s not a matter of just color. But if a street, statue or airport is named after a bigot, or has racist undertones, it should come down. Maybe we can honor some people of color instead. Rosa Parks would be a good start. Who else do you suggest?

derk June 21, 2020 - 3:15 pm

Easy. Be sparing in naming airports after people, especially politicians. Some of the big airports are not named after people, like Heathrow Airport, Narita (Tokyo), Changi (Singapore), LAX, SFO, Frankfurt, Schiphol, etc.

Matthew June 21, 2020 - 11:50 pm

Name all airports after native american tribes. They obviously never fought with each other or subjugated each other.

SharonKurheg June 22, 2020 - 12:58 am

They would be great to name things after, too! Which tribes do you suggest?

R. K. Guest September 16, 2021 - 8:50 pm

Probably should change the name, but many better choices than Harry Reid. What were his real contributions? Can’t think of any positive ones. Only negatives that harmed the country, the US Senate and his political enemies.


Leave a Comment