DURHAM, February 6, 2022 — The Carolina Theatre of Durham invites the community to tour its civil rights exhibit, “Confronting Change” during Black History Month. Self-guided tours are open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guided tours are also available for groups of 25 or more when arranged in advance. All tours are free.
In 2014 the “Confronting Change” exhibit was opened to acknowledge the role the theater played in the civil rights movement and to honor those who took part in desegregating the theater. The exhibit includes photos and bios of the people involved in desegregating the theater, newspaper features on the events that took place, and replicas of the separate ticketing window.
In the 1960s, the Carolina Theatre became a focal point of the civil rights movement in Durham. Because the theater was a city-owned building, it had been using public funding to continue segregation. Attorney Floyd B. McKissick, along with NAACP youth leaders John Edwards, Vivian McCoy, and Walter Riley challenged this system of inequity in 1961. “Round Robin” protests began in March of 1962 as Black patrons approached the White ticket window and were turned away only to return to the back of the line and continue requesting admission.
In May of 1963 Wense Grabarek was elected mayor and worked to convince the Carolina Theatre’s management to embrace the idea of integration. In July the theater began operating without segregation, two months before Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and a year before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forced other institutions in the South and nation to integrate.
The Carolina Theatre offers exhibits on each of its three floors—one on the history of the theater and downtown Durham, one on the volunteers who saved the theater from destruction, and one on the civil rights movement. To learn more about touring the Carolina Theatre and its exhibits, including “Confronting Change,” please visit carolinatheatre.org.
About The Carolina Theatre of Durham:
Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which manages the city-owned Carolina Theatre at 309 W. Morgan Street, Durham, NC 27701. Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. is dedicated to presenting vibrant, thought-provoking film and live performances that contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of downtown Durham and the Triangle Region. More information at carolinatheatre.org.
Contact: Jordan Hewitt Beard
Senior Director of Marketing, Carolina Theatre of Durham
(919) 560-3040 | email@example.com