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William "Bob" Bailey

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Information about William "Bob" Bailey

Profile image of William "Bob" Bailey

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Entertainer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
February
Favorite Vacation Spot:
San Diego, California
Favorite Quote:
Education Is The Light That Blinds Ignorance.

Birthplace

Born:
2/14/1927
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Entertainer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
February
Favorite Vacation Spot:
San Diego, California
Favorite Quote:
Education Is The Light That Blinds Ignorance.

Birthplace

Born:
2/14/1927
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how William "Bob" Bailey is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Dr. William H. “Bob” Bailey was born on February 14, 1927, in Detroit, Michigan, to a family with a strong musical tradition; vocal star Pearl Bailey was Bailey’s second cousin, and Pearl's brother, Bill, was a professional dancer and singer before her. When Bailey’s father lost his job during the Great Depression, the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where Bailey grew up and learned to sing in church choirs. Bailey finished high school at age sixteen with the intention to become an international lawyer; his grades and vocal talent had won him a scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bailey worked his way through college by performing in a local night club; during one of these performances, he was approached by bandleader Benny Goodman, and John Hammond, a sponsor of Count Basie. After auditioning while on Christmas break, Bailey was hired by Basie himself. Bailey left Morehouse College while studying business law to be a featured singer in Count Basie’s band.

In 1950, Bailey enrolled in the School of Radio and Television in New York and attended specialized studies at the Columbia Theater Wing. Bailey was later offered a position at the Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas as a co-producer and Master of Ceremonies, eventually landing him a job as the host of a variety show called Talk of the Town on CBS affiliate, KLAS Channel 8. Talk of the Town was the first show in the nation to be entirely produced, starred in, and directed by black talent; he was the producer and director of the show. From 1965 to 1971, Bailey was a newscaster and variety show host for ABC affiliate, Channel 13 in Las Vegas.

Bailey became known as a civil rights pioneer in Las Vegas entertainment and broadcasting due to his role in the desegregation of the State of Nevadal his night club, Sugar Hill, and other businesses employed over 100 African Americans. Bailey later began Manpower Services, which trained 1,000 African Americans to work in gaming and related businesses.

In 1989, Bailey became national deputy director of the Minority Business Development Agency, U.S. Department of Commerce. Bailey was a member of the first graduating class of the Institute of Minority Business Education at Howard University School of Business; he was an outspoken advocate for minority small business and self-sufficiency for nearly a half century. In 2006, a middle school in Las Vegas was named after Bailey for his contributions to community building and education both in the state of Nevada, and nationwide.

Bailey passed away on May 24, 2014 at age 87.

See how William "Bob" Bailey is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William "Bob" Bailey's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William "Bob" Bailey lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his parents' family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about his mother's childhood and profession
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William "Bob" Bailey describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about his family's migration to the North
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers his mother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his relationship with his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers the Outhwaite Homes in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls his experiences during the Great Depression
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls the Portland Outhwaite Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about the black-owned businesses in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers his early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his experiences at Kennard Junior High School in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his experiences at Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his family's interest in music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about his aspiration to become a lawyer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls his first year at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers meeting Benny Goodman and John Hammond
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls his audition for Count Basie's band
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers his influences at Morehouse College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers travelling on segregated train cars
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls his arrival in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls touring the Chitlin' Circuit with Count Basie
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers the mentorship of Count Basie
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers Duke Ellington and his band
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his experiences with Count Basie's band
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers Dizzy Gillespie
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William "Bob" Bailey describes Count Basie's perspective on bebop music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William "Bob" Bailey describes the dissolution of Count Basie's band
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls singing at Small's Paradise in New York City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his role in 'Sugar Hill' at the Las Palmas Theatre in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers meeting his wife, Anna Bailey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about his performances in New York City
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his decision to attend the School of Radio and Television in New York City
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls the television industry's discriminatory practices
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William "Bob" Bailey describes how he came to live in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers his move to Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers segregation in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers Las Vegas' African American performers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers the cast of the 'Tropi Can Can' revue
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about the creation of 'Talk of the Town'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William "Bob" Bailey describes Alice Key's role on 'Talk of the Town'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls being offered a program on KENO Radio
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about the closure of the Moulin Rouge Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William "Bob" Bailey describes the sponsors of 'Talk of the Town'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his career in the entertainment industry of Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls his decision to remain in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers Charles West and James B. McMillan
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William "Bob" Bailey describes the Urban Renewal Advisory Commission
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls his transition to KTNV-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about his political party affiliation
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers managing Pearl Bailey's road show
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William "Bob" Bailey describes the proposed march against segregation in Las Vegas, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William "Bob" Bailey describes the proposed march against segregation in Las Vegas, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls opening the Sugar Hill nightclub in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about the Pan-Afro Auditorium in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about the closure of the Pan-Afro Auditorium in Las Vegas, Nevada, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about the closure of the Pan-Afro Auditorium in Las Vegas, Nevada, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about his interest in real estate
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls founding the Nevada Economic Development Company
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about his minority business initiatives
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William "Bob" Bailey remembers receiving an honorary doctorate from National University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - William "Bob" Bailey reflects upon the decline of the jazz community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls his appointment to the Minority Business Development Agency
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his experiences as director of the Minority Business Development Agency
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about his trade mission to the Middle East
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - William "Bob" Bailey recalls his presidency of the National Association of Minority Businesses
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - William "Bob" Bailey talks about William H. Bailey Middle School in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - William "Bob" Bailey reflects upon his life, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - William "Bob" Bailey describes his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - William "Bob" Bailey reflects upon his life, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - William "Bob" Bailey reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - William "Bob" Bailey shares a message to future generations
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - William "Bob" Bailey narrates his photographs