The Historic Davenport Hotel is significant in the African American history as some incidents reflect the shift in the hotel’s practice of segregation to acceptance for the Black community.
Examining the hotel's history from a black perspective, it becomes evident that its reputation as a welcoming establishment did not extend to all individuals. Incidents of racial discrimination occurred at the Davenport Hotel, as exemplified by the case of Sammy Davis Jr., a renowned black entertainer who performed with the Will Mastin Trio. Davis was denied a hotel room and informed that "colored hotels" were rare in Spokane. Furthermore, the hotel staff made racially insensitive comments, which escalated into arguments and eventually culminated in an aggressive altercation.
Recalling another incident was in 1937, when singer Marian Anderson stayed at the Historic Davenport and some Marycliff High School girls went there to interview her. Amongst the group was a young Black girl, Frances (Nichols) Scott who was asked to take the freight elevator separating her from the crowd. The entire group of girls, disappointed with the behavior of the hotel staff, decided to take the freight elevator with her. Frances later became the first black female attorney in Spokane.
While such instances of racial segregation taint the hotel's past, it is essential to acknowledge that the Davenport Hotel has undergone significant changes over the years. Today, it serves as an important place of employment for African Americans in Spokane, reflecting a positive shift towards greater inclusivity and diversity.