Sam Cooke Receives Posthumous Apology from Shreveport Mayor for Racist Mistreatment He Experienced in 1963 That Inspired “A Change Is Gonna Come”

A change has finally come — but it took 56 years.

Legendary singer Sam Cooke received a belated public apology Sunday for the racially motivated mistreatment he suffered in 1963 at the hands of hotel staff and law enforcement while performing in Shreveport, La.

Mayor Adrian Perkins posthumously awarded the “King of Soul” the key to the city at the 33rd annual Let the Good Times Roll Festival.

“I’m so honored that Mayor Perkins took the time to do the apology while I was performing at the festival,” said the late singer’s daughter, Carla Cooke, while accepting the honor on her father’s behalf.

Flashback to 1963: Through months of public records requests and dozens of interviews, KSLA 12 pieced together the events that played a crucial role in Shreveport’s evolving role in the civil rights movement.

Cooke and his wife, Barbara, rode in their Maserati while his brother, Charles, and the band’s manager, Senior Roy Craine, followed in a limousine. When Cooke and his travel companions arrived at the Shreveport Holiday Inn — where they had reservations — they were refused a room.

The singer exchanged heated words with the desk clerks.

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SOURCE: New York Post, Rob Bailey-Millado