Search

THEY WENT AGAINST THE ODDS FOR THEIR BLACK BROTHERS AND SISTERS

THEY WENT AGAINST THE ODDS FOR THEIR BLACK BROTHERS AND SISTERS

The segregated period drew lines throughout America. Blacks did not trust whites, and vice versa. But not all white people, of course, were pure evil. Some acclaimed celebrities protected their friends who were African American. While the civil rights era was at its highest, stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, and Grace Kelly went above and beyond to prove that all were equal.

Actress Marilyn Monroe and jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald were the best of friends. Fitzgerald became very famous after Marilyn Monroe took her career to another level. During the 1950s, African American artists were not allowed to perform at certain white-owned clubs and restaurants, especially in heavy Jim Crow-influenced states. A famous venue was Mocambo in Hollywood, California. The owner didn't let Ella Fitzgerald perform because she was black. Marilyn Monroe then took it upon herself to call the owner of Mocambo and insisted that Fitzgerald perform there; if he accepted the offer, then Monroe would be front and center every night. The owner approved, and Fitzgerald brought in big business to her performances.

Frank Sinatra, at the height of his career in the 1950s, began to slowly integrate diversity in the music industry. Frank Sinatra did many acts for the Civil Rights movement. When he performed his songs from his best-selling albums, he wanted an integrated orchestra behind him. With this minor stunt, pay increased for the musicians.

Clark Gable from "Gone With the Wind," who was of mixed race, threatened to quit the film if the set was not desegregated. None of the African American cast were even allowed to attend the movie premiere, which Gable also disliked.

In 1951, actress Grace Kelly was eating at the Stork Club in New York, where she noticed jazz singer Josephine Baker was denied service at the restaurant. Even though Kelly did not know Baker at the time, she was so disgusted that she took Baker and led her out of the restaurant with the rest of her party. After that incident, Grace Kelly and Josephine Baker became close friends. When Baker almost filed for bankruptcy, Grace Kelly, who was the princess of Monaco at the time, financially assisted her.