Civil Rights and the Singer

March 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

In the fight for black Americans to receive their full rights as citizens, Frank Sinatra isn't the first name that comes to mind. But he  firmly and publicly objected to racial discrimination well before the movement to end segregation got going. He wouldn't play a club that didn't admit all races, and he insisted his band be integrated. In 1955, the Las Vegas Sands had let Nat King Cole stay, but not eat in the restaurant. Sinatra found out and invited him to dinner. With his clout as a headliner, he helped fellow performer Sammy Davis Jr. break the racial barrier that limited black access to casinos.

In 1961, as the civil rights movement was getting going, Sinatra played Carnegie Hall to benefit Martin Luther King Jr, and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference.


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