Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino

On 24 May 1955 the Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino opened.  It was located at at 900, Bonanza Road on the west side of Las Vegas; becoming what the promoters called “the nation’s first major interracial hotel”.

Opening to standing-room only mixed crowds, the night stage show included the stage show an all African American dance team, and comedy team Stump and Stumpy (James Cross and Harold Cromer) as the opening act along with the Honeytones.  The casino host was Joe Louis, ex-heavyweight boxing champion.

Until the hotel’s opening African American entertainers in Las Vegas were denied access to public casino and hotel dining areas unless they were performing and were forced to stay overnight in segregated boarding houses on the Westside.  Within the next few months the hotel attracted performers such as Louis Armstrong, George Burns, Nat King Cole, Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Unfortunately, despite its popularity, the Moulin Rouge closed its doors six months later surrounded by many rumors as to what had happened.  Its brief run as a successfully integrated casino, though, prompted political activists to campaign for the integration of the Las Vegas Strip – an agreement that was achieved, ironically, in the now closed Moulin Rouge on March 26, 1960.