SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins has apologized for the racist way the late singer Sam Cooke was treated during a visit to the city.
Cooke was in town in 1963 to perform at the Municipal Auditorium. He had a reservation at a Holiday Inn but he, his wife and others were turned away because they were Black. They were later arrested for disturbing the peace.
It all happened just three weeks after the Ku Klux Klan bombed a predominantly Black church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four girls, and just after police officers in Shreveport severely beat Reverend Harry Blake inside Little Union Baptist Church during a vigil for the girls.
This incident was Cooke’s inspiration for “A Change is Gonna Come,” which features the line, “I go downtown somebody keep tellin’ me don’t hang around.”
Mayor Adrian Perkins apologized Saturday night during the Let the Good Times Roll Festival. Cooke’s daughter Carla performed at the festival.
Perkins also awarded Cooke a key to the city.