The Carolina Theater in Greensboro is commemorating is 85th anniversary tonight with the debut of a documentary.
The half hour film looks at the theater's 36 years of segregation, how a lack of funding almost led it to become a venue for pornographic films, and its role as an independent non-profit, today. Keith Holiday is the President and CEO of Carolina Theater. He recalled a North Carolina A&T student and later well-known Civil Rights Activist whose efforts helped to desegregate the theater in the early 1960s.
Keith Holiday: "A group led by Jesse Jackson who at that point was the student body president, led several protests to block entrances to the center movie theater, the Carolina movie theater, the S&W cafeteria. And tensions were very, very high."
Following the protests the Greensboro Mayor and head of the Human relations commission wrote a letter requesting all of the downtown retail establishments integrate. The Carolina Theater officially desegregated in 1963. Today the venue has about half as many seats as it once did. The 30-minute historical prospective of the theater begins tonight at 7. The showing is free and cake will be served afterward.