Thursday, June 24, 2010

Something my Dad told me

My father worked as room clerk in a Detroit hotel during WW2, where rooms were scarce and the racial divide was still strongly enforced. He told one night that there was a clutch of nervous looking white men who wanted to check in a guest--there was a small mob, and the intended guest was still waiting in a car outside. My dad was about to hand over the room key when a manager tapped him on the shoulder and eased him to the side. The manager explained to the man who was signing the hotel register that the hotel was full-up, and politely offered to call the nearby Wolverine Hotel to see if they had a room. The intended guest in the car was Lena Horne, it turned out; the hotel my dad worked at had a policy of not allowing blacks stay at their Inn, regardless of any other considerations.