University of Texas "Stand-Ins" 1960
Prior to the 1960s, black students were barred from University housing, athletics, and many extracurricular activities such as clubs and the band. Black students led a protest against their exclusion at a March 1960 Board of Governors Meeting. The month prior, the historic sit-ins in North Carolina that led to the founding of SNCC took place and led to sit-ins throughout the South. UT students were already protesting segregation at restaurants and other establishments on Guadalupe Street and by the spring of 1960, UT students were also holding sit-ins. UT students then initiated a new strategy at movie theaters called a "stand-in."
Backstory and Context
One tactic used by University of Texas students was known as a "stand-in." The stand-ins consisted of patrons standing in line at theaters that drew the color line. When participants reached the front of the line, they approached the ticket booth with money and asked whether the theater had reconsidered its Jim Crow policies that required African Americans to sit in a segregated section. After being informed that the theater had not changed its policy, they moved to the back of the line and waited for their next turn to ask if the policy had changed. The "stand-ins" were effective in limiting the number of tickets that could be sold until the police broke up the demonstrations or escorted white patrons who approved of segregation inside to purchase tickets in the lobby.