Huntsville's Segregated Movie Theaters
In the 1960’s, Huntsville’s theaters included The Lyric, The Grand, The Tony (Martin), The Princess, The Central. The drive-ins were Whitesburg, 231, Parkway, Woody’s, and the 72. The Princess Theater specifically served African American moviegoers. During Huntsville's organized civil rights movement, African American protestors would stand in line to buy movie tickets at “white” theaters, be refused service when they got to the ticket window, then immediately go to the back of the line and try and try again. Eventually, African Americans were permitted to attend the previously all-white Lyric Theater, but were asked to sit in the balcony. Many young white people were upset because a courting place had been taken from them. They were told, “It is against the law for white people to sit in the balcony.” This was the same answer their parents had given them when they were children and had asked why they couldn’t drink out of the colored water fountains, “It is against the law and you will get arrested.”
Local Historians Kelly Hamlin, Sonnie Hereford III, and Lue English.
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