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SEGREGATED MOVIE THEATER

Austin Texas 1935

Theater sign from a segregated theater in Austin, Texas in 1935. For African Americans, segregation of theaters meant being banned from "white" theaters, climbing outside stairs to the "reserved" balcony, entering white theaters only late on Friday nights after the last showing for white audiences, and going to a segregated theater.


Racial segregation in the Untied States was enforced through Jim Crow laws at state and local levels from the late 1900s into the mid 20th century, reversing political and economic gains made by African Americans during the Reconstruction period. Especially in the South, persons of color were barred from services utilized by white people.


Based on the legal principle of "separate but equal," Jim Crow laws and state constitutional provisions mandated segregation of public schools, public places, public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains between white and black people. Facilities for African Americans were consistently inferior and underfunded, and were sometimes nonexistent, institutionalizing economic, educational, and social inequality.