Las Vegas, also known as the entertainment capital of the world, has a long and unfortunate history of discrimination towards Black entertainers. For many years, Black performers were not allowed to stay or eat in the same hotels and restaurants as their white counterparts. Despite being the main attraction and drawing huge crowds to the city, they were subjected to segregation and prejudice.
One of the most famous incidents of discrimination was faced by the legendary singer and performer, Sammy Davis Jr. In the 1950s and 1960s, Davis was a regular headliner in Las Vegas and was considered one of the greatest performers of his time. However, despite his immense talent and popularity, he was not allowed to stay in the same hotels as his white co-stars. In a 1965 interview, Davis stated that he was “tired of being a second-class citizen in my own country”.
Another famous performer who faced discrimination was Nat King Cole. Cole was a popular pianist, singer and recording artist who was known for his smooth, mellifluous voice. He was one of the first Black performers to be offered a regular engagement in Las Vegas. However, Cole was not allowed to stay in the same hotels as his white colleagues and was forced to stay in run-down establishments outside of the city.
In addition to Davis and Cole, many other Black entertainers faced similar discrimination in Las Vegas, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Nina Simone. These artists were all subjected to segregation and prejudice, despite being hugely popular and in high demand.
Despite the efforts of these entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement, discrimination in Las Vegas persisted for many years. It was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s that Black performers were finally allowed to stay in the same hotels and restaurants as their white counterparts.
In conclusion, the discrimination faced by Black entertainers in Las Vegas was a shameful part of the city’s history. These artists, including Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Nina Simone, were all subjected to segregation and prejudice despite their immense talent and popularity. The legacy of these performers and their struggles against discrimination will always be remembered as an important part of Las Vegas’ history.
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