When Harry Belafonte appeared in mob-controlled Las Vegas in the 1950s at the Thunderbird Hotel, he decided to challenge the racist system that prevented African American performers from staying at hotels on the Strip.
"I walked into the lobby, going to the desk to register," said Belafonte, 87. "The woman looked at me like I was a Martian. She went back and got the manager. I went into his office, and he said 'The rules are you can't stay here.' I was absolutely taken aback. I said, 'Well, I don't think this is going to work.'"
The manager turned Belafonte over to "the big boss."
"I said, 'I'd just like to leave town quietly,...