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"An Impact of the Moulin Rouge Hotel on Race Relations in Las Vegas": manuscript draft by Roosevelt Fitzgerald




1970 (year approximate) to 1996 (year approximate)


From the Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers (MS-01082) -- Unpublished manuscripts file.

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man000939. Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers, 1890-1996. MS-01082. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Roosevelt Fitzgerald
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
On the interior walls of the Moulin Rouge Hotel of Las Vegas may be found murals reminiscent of the chorus line of the famed Moulin Rouge of Paris. It would seem only fitting that they be there. The fact that Will Max Schwartz had the idea for constructing Las Vegas' Moulin Rouge Hotel in 1953 probably had as much to do with the Paris original as it did with the fact that the film, by that same name, was a Hollywood release in 1952. The film described the Moulin Rouge as being the more popular of many seamy nightclubs of Paris and its trade-mark was the "Can-Can" with its dancing girls and comedians who told bawdy jokes. Additionally, it was a place frequented by prostitutes, pimps and other low-life types and, further, that it was a place where gentlemen went whenever they felt like slumming (Houston: 1952).
The fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Las Vegas, on May 15, 1905, was celebrated nine days before the grand opening of the Moulin Rouge Hotel on May 24, 1955. Had Las Vegas been a southern town, that grand opening of the Moulin Rouge and not the bus boycott initiated in Montgomery, Alabama seven months later in December, might well be considered the beginning of the civil rights movement. As it stood, it was only one of several attempts to affect discriminatory practices in public accommodations in Las Vegas. The attempt was not to end the practice of discrimination but to provide a place where people of color, who wished to visit Las Vegas, would have access and opportunity for food and lodgings upon their arrival at a site other than private homes, and that they would further have the opportunity to gamble and attend shows.
For the first twenty-five years of its history, the circumstances which necessitated the opening of the Moulin Rouge Hotel did not exist. From the very beginning, one block, of the new town was set aside for whatever saloons, bars, taverns and houses of ill-repute there might be. Block Sixteen, bounded by Main and First Street on the west and east and, to the north and south, Stewart and Odgen Streets, was the center of Las Vegas' after-hours activities ( Paher, 1971, p. 78). Anyone who wished to purchase a drink or do any gambling did so there. The only businesses which discriminated on Block Sixteen were the several houses of ill- repute. Until the opening of the Idle Hour Club in 1936, black men who were interested in such passtimes were required to find someone who freelanced. While the reason for that discrimination might well have been a result of the personal attitudes of the proprietors of those houses in the "red light" district, they were spared responsibility due to anti - miscegenation laws in the state of Nevada (Miscegenation Act, 1861). Those laws were not repealed until 1959 (Statutes of the State of Nevada, 1959, chap. 193, sect. 1, p. 216).
The growth of Las Vegas' black population was quite slow. Each census report from 1910 through 1940 provides evidence to that effect and by 1940 it had reached only a total of 178. It was during the decade leading up to 1940 that the first meaningful social/racial changes occurred. Even though as early as 1909 and continuing, intermittingly, through 1911, there had been talk of segregating Las Vegas' "colored population" nothing came of it. With the arrival of the Hoover Dam Project however, some changes did occur. Outright discrimination took place in the new taverns and saloons which sprang up along the new Boulder Highway which connected Las Vegas with the dam site. While local ordinances
the operation of saloons and such beyond the limited area of Block Sixteen, those ordinances did not extend into the county. As there had been no anticipation of a building boom beyond the confines of Las Vegas as it was platted in 1305, no thought had been given to legislation beyond the city itself. As the first years of the dam project got underway, the new highway was pock-marked with shady establishments and they catered to the project's work force which was all-white, with the exception of a handful of Mexican-Americans, until the mid-point of 1932, and those white workers, in large part, had migrated to Las Vegas from the south (McBride,!988a, p. 8). No alcohol was allowed within the boundaries of the federal project. On July 25, 1931, the Railroad Pass Saloon opened just beyond the boundary line of the project. It had everything that a dam worker would want; alcohol, gambling and female companionship. Railroad Pass Saloon, therefore, became an all-white establishment because it catered to an all-white work force (Ibid.). In Las Vegas, the Apache Hotel, three stories tall, with 100 rooms and with the town's first elevator, had also opened by that time (Knepp, 1987, 275). It also catered to an all-white clientele as did those other places on the Boulder Highway. The overall population of southern Nevada had increased to more than 40,000 by that time. Based on the place of nativity of those migrants and the economic hardships of the times, the circumstances were ripe for increasing racial intolerence. Local newspapers of the day are replete with reports of conflicts and acts of hostility between not only black and white who were there but also black and Mexican Americans and Mexican Americans and whites (Deteriorating Racial Relations, 1930). Thomas Sowell describes such a condition well: ...a certain benign contempt may exist toward a group that is clearly on the bottom and showing no sign of rising. But once
they reach the stage of becoming threats to others1 jobs or status a much more active and intense hatred may develop. This is sometimes referred to as "good race relations" turning to hostility. Rising ethnic groups are the greatest threat to others at or near the bottom--!ncluding other minorities (Sowell, 1975, p. 162).
While there had not been, historically, a tradition of racial discrimination in Las Vegas' short history, the flood of newcomers in the 1930s brought their prejudices with them. Make no mistake about it, those acts of discrimination were not restricted to those who were southerners. While the south was indeed the home of de jure segregation, the remainder of the country had its brand and it was called de facto. Neither had existed in Las Vegas because minority groups had comprised such a small percentage of the total.population as to not have been viewed as threats. Further, the economic dire straits in which the country found itself as the 1930s got underway, served to exacerbate what had been, nationwide, an unhealthy racial climate even before the arrival of the depression.
It was the Hoover Dam project which ushered in significant social/ racial changes in southern Nevada. During the height of dam construction, the population multiplied twenty-times over from what it had been in 1930. The changes that it brought about would linger long after the project would be completed. Earlier estimates of the duration of time necessary for the completion of the project were almost halved. This was partially a result of the work being done in twenty-four hour shifts. As the project neared completion shortly after the mid-way mark of the 1930s, many of the workers and their families departed to seek employment on other projects on down the Colorado River and off to the northwest. Still, the 1940 population showed nearly 8000 which was nearly triple the 1930 figure. However, even though the black population had also increased by
the same ratio, in real numbers, that translated to a total black population of 78 or twenty more than it had been in 1930. Further, the all-white town of Boulder City had come into existance with a residual population of over 3000.
The dam was hailed as one of the "wonders of the world" and tourists from across the United States came to visit. Beginning in the mid-1930s and continuing on till today, the Hoover Dam has been a favorite tourist attraction for travelers. Those tourists, however, did not find ample hotel accommodations in Las Vegas and there were almost no provisions for them in Boulder City. Many of the older established hotels were small and even after undergoing expansion, they were not able to accommodate the flood of visitors. The obvious.need for additional hotels and rooms were clear and by the beginning of the 1940s, there began a surge of new construction.
Beginning with the construction of the El Rancho Hotel in 1941, the decade witnessed the appearance of nine major establishments (J<nepp, 275). That same year, it was joined by the El Cortez and the following year by both the Pioneer Club and the Last Frontier (Ibid.). Each of those establishments, by their lavishness, gambling and entertainment spurred on even more travelers who remained for even longer periods of time. While, on the one hand, they served a very good purpose, on the other hand, they contributed to the increasing discrimination and segregation in the Las Vegas community. That which had started in the early 1930s had grown to such terrible proportions, even before their arrival, by 1938/39, that it prompted the introduction of a Race and Color Bill in 1939 in the Nevada Legislature to inhibit the further expansion of discrimination (Race and Color Bill, 1939). The Bill died in the Assembly
and the hotel owners were left to their honor to abide by constitutional protections afforded all citizens.
On at least one occasion during the 1940s, an attempt was made to open what would have been an integrated hotel or at least a hotel where black people could find accommodations. In 1942, the Horace Heidt, Organization made an attempt to open the Shamrock Hotel but was unable to secure the proper licensing. As a result, even though the black population of Las Vegas continued to increase, there was no corresponding increase in black tourism. The fact that segregation, existed caused Las Vegas to evolve into a segregated town and that segregation became part of its trademark and gained national renown during the war years when black soldiers stationed at nearby military installations found that their over-night or weekend passes were only good on the westside. Many small black businesses developed in that community but, for the time, there were no hotels. Until a black USO club opened in 1942, soldiers who came to Las Vegas were on their own as far as securing food and shelter were concerned. A good number of those businesses were amall bars and saloons although there were numerous other traditional family operated shops. It was in the former, however, that some modicrum of entertainment was provided the small black population but permanent and transient. That entertainment was frequently provided by black entertainers who were currently appearing at the larger hotels and who, themselves, found shelter on the westside. Obviously that entertainment took place in those places after the entertainers would have completed their performances at the hotels. The bars on the westside, as a result, became popular "after-hours" clubs. Because they did not generally book
entertainment there was also suspense as to who would show up where and
whether or not they would do anything other than gamble and have a few drinks (Delaney, 1974). It was not rare that more than one black entertainer would appear at the same place on the same night and there would be great excitement. The "jams" they would do attracted business and frequently their drinks were complementary and, depending upon the activity, they might also be paid a small sum. The payment, however, was not an incentive. Many were anxious to perform in places where they felt welcomed and before appreciative audiences who otherwise would not have opportunity to have such entertainment (Ibid.). As the notoriety of those sessions became more well-known, more of the white community began to visit the "after-hours" clubs on the westside much to the dismay of other establishments. Efforts to curb that activity was initiated based on Nevada's anti-miscegenation laws. Even though there was no clear evidence of miscegeneous activity ensuing, there are records of certain clubs being closed or having licenses suspended because they played to a mixed clientele. The real cause of such closures, however, was the draw- ing-off of trade that the hotels felt was rightly theirs'.
Tensions between the two segments of the Las Vegas community continued to grow through the 1940s. The irony of all of this is that in the remainder of the country there were some limited evidences of thoughts of attempting to bring the country closer together. Following the end of World War II and the return of the soldiers to the United States, there were loud voices emanating initially out of black communities throughout the land to put an end to segregation and discrimination. The clamor raised, joined by the personal sentiments of President Harry Truman, resulted with his signing Executive Order 9981 in 1948, which desegregated the armed forces. That same year, the Supreme Court rendered two landmark
decisions. In Sipuel vs University of Oklahoma, it re-affirmed the 1938 Gaines vs Canada decision which declared that each of the several states were obliged to provide for each citizen's equal educational opportunity. With Shelley vs Kraemer, it rendered that racially restricted covenants violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The impact of the arrival of Jackie Robinson to major league baseball the year before was carried from spring training in Montreal, Canada and Havana, Cuba to each of the National League towns where the Brooklyn Dodgers played that year (Frommer, 1982, 108-150). While Robinson was initially greeted with rejection by some of the other members of the ball club and jeers in some of the towns where they played, owing to his own strength, the support of Branch Rickey and other team members and the general good will of the majority of spectators in the stands, he survived the ordeal and caused Americans previously convinced of their own decency to recognize their true selves.
Finally, the Supreme Court in two 1950 decisions, acted on a matter which had its beginning in the 1940s. Ln 1945, Hernan Sweatt attempted to enroll at the University of Texas Law School at Austin. He was denied entry. He filed a petition with the District Court asking for his legal rights. The state responded by opening a seperate school in a basement near the capitol grounds. Sweatt did not attend. The state then built a three-and-a-half million dollar campus at Houston and called it the Texas State University for Negroes. Sweatt did not attend because he was convinced that the new institution would not provide him with an equal educational opportunity on the level of that which he would receive at the University of Texas. It was out of those circumstances that the two Supreme Court decisions of 1950 were rendered and they each had to do
with the state's responsibility to provide an equal educational opportunity.
In the McLaurin vs Oklahoma State Regentg and Sweatt vs Painter cases, the Court struck down state laws for the higher or professional education of blacks as failing to meet the requirements of equality.
Even as those events took shape nationwide, Las Vegas continued its growth. In 1946, three major establishments opened their doors. The Golden Nugget was followed by the Eldorado and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's Fabulous Flamingo Hotel's grand opening in December, closed out the year. It was at the Flamingo that the final nail of discrimination was driven. During the third week of its operation, Lena Horne opened at its showroom. While she was allowed to perform on stage and was provided a private bungalow, she was not permitted into any of the public areas (Horne and Schickel, 1965, pp. 202-205). Before the decade ended, two more casinoes opened. The Club Bingo, which would later become the Sahara Hotel, opened in 1947 and the Thunderbird joined it in 1948 (Knepp, 275). With, each opening, discrimination became even more widespread. There was resistence but it was sporadic and, during those years, failed to halt.the spread of segregation in the new industry. In March of 1947, E.R. "Boots" Miller, a Nevada Assemblymanintroduced a bill designed to bar discrimination on account of race in public accommodations. As with its predecessors, it also failed (Assembly Journal, 1948: 273, 453-455, 506-511).
While nationally, the decade closed on notes of optimism in regards to race relations, conditions in Las Vegas seemed to actively pursue the opposite. By that time, it was common to hear black people and many others refer to Nevada as "The Mississippi of the West."
George Rudiak, a prominent Las Vegas attorney, first came to Las Vegas during the early 1940s while serving in the U.S. Army Air Corp. Following his discharge in 1946, after having been stationed at the Las
Vegas Gunnery School, he started his legal career. During his first ten years in Las Vegas, he witnessed many times the acts of discrimination against black people. On several occasions those discriminatory acts took place with black people who were either friends or clients while in his company. The first instance involved he, his partner Paul Rai 1i and a black singer Arthur Lee Simpkins. They were refused service at the El Rancho (Evans, 1988, 3}. On yet another occasion, Rudiak "...and another black client, a dentist from Los Angeles, ordered drinks at the Golden Nugget casino bar. They were refused. Rudiak says that time, he made a scene, refusing to leave until they were served. They eventually were--grudingly" (Ibid.).
Following a short stint as city attorney for North Las Vegas, Rudiak resigned in 1948 and shortly thereafter announced his plans for running for the state legislature. After a successful campaign he was elected and attended the 1953 session where he introduced a bill that would have been the state's first civil rights bill. It would have outlawed the sort of racial discrimination widely practiced in Las Vegas at the time. It failed by one vote" (Ibid.).
Many have described the 1950s as being the decade of major hotel construction in Las Vegas. Actually, the 50s was the time that the "Strip" had its personality defined. During that period, seven new establishments opened there. Beginning in 1950 with the Desert Inn and the Silver Slipper, the number of establishments on the "Strip" increased to seven. By the date of their opening, with the exception of black back-of-the-house employees and black entertainers, no blacks were allowed to enter any of those establishments. They continued to come to Las Vegas and to perform because, in the majority of instances, Las Vegas paid the best wages in
their profession in the country (Horne and Schickel, 1965, p. 205). By the mid-1950s, however, some few was allowed to enter the public areas of the hotels and casinoes where they performed. They did not have carte blanch at the other hotels.
In 1952, the Sands, which became a favorite for black entertainers for the next quarter-century, opened. The Showboat, which was neither on the Strip nor downtown, opened on the Boulder Highway in 1954 (Knepp, 275). The following year the Riviera and the Dunes brought the number of Strip establishments to eleven and within the next two years they were joined by the Hacienda in 1956 and the Tropicana in 1957 (Ibid.). Downtown, the Fremont Hotel opened the same year as the Hacienda.
By the time those places opened, the bigger names in black entertainment not only were provided accommodations but also, as stated earlier, found some restrictions lifted. Lesser names, such as Pearl Bailey, lived on the westside (Bailey, 1973, p. 75). During his first appearance in Las Vegas, Harry Belafonte also lived there at least for one night until he was able to secure quarters at a small motel after being passed off as a South American (Shaw, 1960, 184). Even those who were provided rooms and access to public areas within the hotels were little more than prisoners as they encountered discrimination in other public places (Best and Hi!Iyer, 1955, 35-36). As these small changes occurred, black tourism remained almost non-existant.
Today, the 1950s have been popularized by many movies and television shows. There are many businesses with 1950s themes, radio stations that play the music of those times, restaurants with menus reminiscent of that period, car buffs who collect the cars and even some of the clothing styles reach back to that era. In the minds of many, that decade ended
a period in the history of the country they like to refer to as "the good *ol days." They were not "the good ’ol days" for everyone.
Southern Nevada and the remainder of the nation experienced many major changes. At about the time that above-ground atomic excplsions took place at the Nevada Test Site, the United States Supreme Court handed down the major domestic decision of the century. In May of 1954, it ruled, in the Brown vs Board of Education case, that "separate but equal" was inherently unconstitutional. That decision attracted more attention than did thought of the harmful effects of radiation in the Nevada desert. Even as the nation took it first steps toward desegration, Las Vegas took its first steps toward re-integration. Those steps, however, were in the direction of "separate but equal." Sandwiched between atomic explosions and that Supreme Court decision, Will Max Schwartz made application for a license to open a hotel far removed from downtown and the Strip.
Anyone with a reasonable amount of business acumen would have been able to determine that there was money to be made in the hotel/casino industry in Las Vegas' black community and the possible black tourist trade. While it might have served racist purposes to imagine that black people were more uncouth than their white counterparts and therefore did not deserve the privilege of entering Las Vegas' temples of Babylon, for those to whom business was simply a matter of profit margin, they recognized the almost untapped wealth of the westside which, as things were and had been since the community had become segregated, had gone into the pockets of those black entrepreneurs who operated places which were little more than dives. There seemed not to be a reason to provide more hospitable surroundings as the customers there had no choice in the matter of where they would go whenever they desired an evening on the town. In
the larger community, where white patrons could pick-and-choose where they would go to drink, gamble, be entertained, eat, and more, each establishment vyed with the others in size and ostentaciousness. The customer sought out the more modern, the best entertainment, the coolest air- conditioning, the best breakfast specials and buffets and treatment. If they could not get it in one establishment, they went to another. Throughout the late 1940s and on through the 1950s, as each successive hotel opened, they offered more than those that had come before. Business on the westside had not been required to do that because they had a captive audience.
Schwartz saw an opportunity to bring the Strip and downtown to the residents of the westside. It was strictly a business matter. The times and the conditions created the illusion that his motives were more noble than they actually were. There were many black people who believed that the proposed hotel was designed to bring about integration. That was not at all the case. Indeed, it was designed to provide a facility for black people to have the opportunity to spend their money in more luxurious surroundings. The illusion, however, persisted in spite of the fact that there was no law in Nevada which sanctioned or legalized segregation. The fact that it existed at all was the result of spoken and unspoken threats of economic reprisal.
The same year that the Dunes and the Riviera hotels opened, the Moulin Rouge did so also. While it was a hotel built for black people, it was not in the black community as it existed at the time. ,Its location was on the boundary of a white neighborhood and it met with some resistence from the inhabitants there. Nonetheless, the license was granted and ground
broken and the enterprise was underway.
The theme of the Moulin Rouge was drawn directly from that of the original in Paris. By the mid-1950s, the formula for the successful hotel operation had been fairly well established. The ideas for the designs, the entertainment and the over-all operations were all borrowed. Many were based on the lavish hotels and spectaculars found in pre-Castro Cuba. There was something from the resort areas of Europe—especially France and Hollywood popularized the entire concept in its musicals. From "Down Argentina Way," "It Happened in Brazil," "Club Havana," and others with such stars as Carmen Miranda, Don Ameche, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, Hollywood put its indelible mark on Las Vegas.
The discussions between the applicant and the Nevada Gaming Commission on the matter of the license was more than interesting. "The Commission itself did not touch on racial angles during the hearing but Moulin Rouge attorney Thomas Foley declared that the 8,000 colored residents of Las Vegas need a decent place to go" (Moulin Rouge, 1955, p. 1). On May 6, 1955, the Gaming Commission granted a license to operate to the Moulin Rouge.
The opening of the Moulin Rouge Hotel in 1955 was an important event. There was an anxiety as to whether or not it would work. That anxiety was based in part on the illusion of what the hotel represented as opposed to what it was actually intended to be. The Commission had been told by Foley that "the hotel would be run decently an-d would be a credit-to Las Vegas and the State of Nevada" (Ibid.).
The night the Moulin Rouge opened, there were many celebrities appearing throughout Las Vegas. Liberace and the Treniers were at the Riviera, the New Frontier had Carmen Miranda and the Mary Kay Trio, the Sands headlined the Delta Rhythm Boys and Freddie Bell, Louie Prima and Keeley Smith were at the Sahara along with Billy Ward and the Dominoes and the Ink
Spots and Joe E. Leonard were also appearing there. All across town there were black entertainers and the practice of not providing accommodations for them continued, except in rare cases. The opening of the Moulin Rouge provided them a place to stay other than in private homes on the westside.
Two and a half weeks before its opening, Mrs. Rudy B. Goodwin, California's Mother of the Year and author of a book titled Its Good To Be Black, had been a guest speaker at a local black lodge. Her topic had been; "A Challenging New Frontier." She spoke of the gains blacks had made in just ninety years since slavery in spite of the obstacles they had had to overcome. The talk was well received. Less than three weeks later on opening night at the Moulin Rouge, the impact of her comments could be seen in the composition of the patrons. Everybody was not there.
Many black people around the country, who had the inclination and the wherewithal, did not have the disposition for attending the grand opening. Most refused to travel, even from southern California, merely to participate in what they viewed as a "jim crow" operation. They felt that if they were not good enough for the likes of the Sands, the Sahara, El Rancho, Flamingo, Nugget and others, they would not degrade themselves by consciously and actively participating in the venture of the Moulin Rouge.
Local blacks had no such, attitude nor did a surprisingly large number of local whites. There were reporters there from all the major news services and magazines. Joe Louis, the official host, greeted everyone. Clarence Robinson, who produced the stage spectacelar, had what was described not only as the "largest chorus line" in Las Vegas, but also as having "twenty-five of the most beautiful dancers in the land" comprising the Tropi Can-Can Revue with Ann Weldon being the featured vocalist.
In addition to the chorus line, there was much more entertainment.
The Wild Bill Davis singers, Ahmad Jamal Trio and Stump and Stumpy. One reporter described the occasion by saying; "Moulin Rouge is New Gem in Vegas Treasure Chest" (Tropi Can-Can, 1955). Another writer reported that "the newest hotel is truly beautiful and a surprise for all the doubting Thomases. The local folks are turning out in droves. Congratulations, Moulin Rouge, you make Las.Vegas look good" (Newest Hotel, 1955). Yet another had this to say; "The keynote of the Moulin Rouge, of course, is that it's interracial—open to people of all races. The owners are deserving of orchids for the magnificent job they accomplished in introducing a new and pleasant atmosphere to the resort world" (Interracial Hotel, 1955). Still another said; "Joe Louis' (it was not his hotel) Moulin Rouge last night became the newest discovery in the billion dollar bonanza known as Las Vegas, Nevada" (Billion Dollar Bonanza, 1955).
Even though being an interracial establishment had not been the original intent of the owners, it was that way from the very first night. Because it was also the home away from home for the majority of black entertainers appearing elsewhere in Las Vegas, it did not suffer for a lack of celebrities. Even those black entertainers who were provided accommodations at the other hotels where they performed but who were denied access to others on the Strip and downtown, eventually arrived at the Moulin Rouge following their second shows. Along with them, they brought their admirers who had heard of the "jams" which had taken place in the smaller bars before the appearance of the Moulin Rouge. Among the great majority of entertainers, there was no problem associated with color differences. White entertainers also began to go to the Rouge. This exodus of entertainers along with their loyal following did have
financial consequences on other establishments. There were many who otherwise would have gone to the Strip or downtown to see shows who began to wait and go to the Rouge where they could see a variety of celebrities. Owing to the fact that the Rouge was not overly large, rubbing elbows with celebrities and being able to get autographs was easily done (Delaney, 1974).
Other hotels in Las Vegas began to relent in their practices of restriction. In almost a domino manner, one after the other began to allow its black enters more freedom. Nat King Cole had the run of the house where he performed (Cole, 1971, pp. 105-6). Sammy Davis, Jr. was allowed that and more. He was permitted to bring his mother and his grandmother to see his shows (Davis, 1965, p. 80-81). Harry Belafonte, after having forced the issue, was allowed to gamble at the Sanda where he performed (Shaw, 196, p. 185). Lesser name black entertainers were provided accommodations at the hotels where they performed (Delaney, 1974).
The opening of the Mou1in Rouge set into motion the change in the racial practices of Las Vegas which would culminate in 1960 with the full integration of the hotel/casino industry of the town. There were some alleged efforts to discredit the management of the Moulin Rouge and, within seven months of its opening, it began to undergo major upheavals. By then, however, the civil rights movement was underway and the country would never be the same again. Beginning in Montgomery and then spreading first throughout the south and then into other regions,, the social revolution which had been the slumbering sleeping giant since the days following the Civil War began to stir. While many associated with the hotel industry continued to oppose integration, there were many citizens of Las Vegas, both black and white, who no longer viewed it as something which would destroy the community. In spite of the charges brought against
the Moulin Rouge by other hotels and the Gaming Commission, the public had seen integration at work and they had enjoyed it. The fact that there was no law which forbade the opening of such a hotel meant that such a hotel could exist. Over the next half dozen years, the management and the ownership of the Moulin Rouge changed several times. The hotel itself was no longer the question. Even if it closed, another could be opened and so long as that was a possibility, racial conditions could not return to what they had been before the opening of the Rouge in May of 1955. The only question which remained was; "how soon will segregation end throughout the industry?" The answer was, March 26, 1960.