An event that tells a great deal about her code of fair play and friendship occurred when she was making To Please a Lady with Clark Gable in 1951. For many years a fine black woman named Harriet had worked for her as a maid and companion. As the film company was preparing to leave for location at Indianapolis, a business manager called Barbara to find out what type of hotel accommodations she required. Barbara told him she wanted a bedroom and bath for herself and the same for Harriet, with a sitting room between. When the business manager explained that this was the best hotel in Indianapolis, where Mr. Gable wanted to stay, and blacks were not allowed, Barbara told him she wanted Harriet close to her, that he should fix it up because that was the way it was going to be. Later that day the producer called to soothe Miss Stanwyck by assuring her that Harriet would stay at the best “colored” hotel in Indianapolis.
“Well,” said Barbara, “I’ll tell you what you can do to solve the whole thing. You make a reservation at the best colored hotel in Indianapolis for two bedrooms and baths and a sitting room between, and that’s where I’ll stay with Harriet.”
“Oh, Barbara, you can’t do that!” argued the producer.
“The hell I can’t,” she said and hung up. With many telephone calls, the room for Harriet was arranged next to Barbara in the hotel with the rest of the company, and when the stars arrived at Indianapolis, the manager personally came down to meet them and thank Barbara for taking her stand.
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