In this WSB newsfilm clip from February, 1961, an interracial group of students protest segregation at downtown movie theaters in Nashville, Tennessee.
The clip begins with an interracial group of students lined up outside of a theater. After an African American man walks away from the ticket booth, another man steps up to the window. Another African American man wears a tag on his lapel with a slogan about "Freedom Day February 1" and hands out flyers. A line of African Americans stretches down the street, with many of the demonstrators wearing similar tags on their lapels. A sign for the theater advertises "Herod the Great," a French film released in the United States in December 1960.
Later the camera again focuses on the line of demonstrators waiting to try and enter the theater, and an African American man offers a flyer to a white man walking past. Inside the ticket window, a pre-printed sign reads "Momentarily closed due to technical difficulties" and white women are seen behind the sign. The clip ends with more images of the demonstrators waiting in line for the theater.
In February 1961, African American civil rights workers in Nashville marked the February 1 anniversary of the sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina by organizing several hundred African Americans to seek admission to a number of segregated downtown theaters. The integration attempt was unsuccessful, and demonstrations continued at the theaters for several weeks after that. On April 29, 1961, downtown theater owners agreed to experimental integration in what one newspaper claimed was the first theater desegregation in the South; movie theaters in Nashville suburbs were not covered by the April agreement and remained segregated.
Title supplied by cataloger.
The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for digital conversion and description of the WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection.