New Documentary Recalls Nat King Cole’s Racist Neighbors

White Hollywood neighbors who didn’t want the singer to move into the exclusive Hancock Park neighborhood burned the n-word into the family’s lawn and killed their dog. 

Posted:
 
screen_shot_20140519_at_9.28.04_am

Nat King Cole

Youtube

According to a new documentary set to air on the BBC, Nat King Cole's white Hollywood neighbors terrorized the singer and his family with racist and hate-filled acts, including killing their dog and burning the n-word onto their lawn, The Independent reports.

Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark reveals the hostility that the Cole family endured after moving into their $65,000 home in the wealthy neighborhood of Hancock Park in 1948. The exclusive Los Angeles suburb was home to some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Katharine Hepburn, Mae West and Howard Hughes.

According to the British newspaper, the Cole family was largely despised from the first day they moved in—an event that almost didn't happen, after neighbors tried to prevent Cole from buying the house. Once the Cole family moved in, someone burned the n-word onto their lawn and killed their dog by throwing poisoned meat into the yard, the newspaper reports.

Music publisher Ivan Mogull tells viewers that Cole's neighbor's "didn't want black people in the neighborhood, and they did everything to make him uncomfortable." Cole's friend Harry Belafonte says of Cole that "nobody wanted him" in the area, the paper reports.

A newspaper clipping shown in the documentary even reported Cole's move with the headline, "Negro to Live in Fashionable Area."

"For us, it was very emotional," singer Natalie Cole, Cole's daughter, told The Independent after watching the documentary.

She noted that racism is still prevalent today. "It is still there, it's very quiet, it's very subtle and it's in so many different fields," she told The Independent. "Even with the election of Barack Obama, I've never seen such outright blatant disrespect. It's still there. We have a way to go."

Read more at The Independent.

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.
Must-See Family Attractions
July 29 2014 2:13 PM