"My dad, when we was growing up he worked at the Varsity Theatre as a janitor, and that gave us the opportunity to go and see some of the movies. As you know, back in the early '50s and the '60s and maybe up into the '70s, you know, you were not, African Americans was not allowed to go to the movies."
- Nate Davis
"I remember when they integrated the theater, the Varsity Theater downtown, and our class, the next day, we had a lecture about how we should act when we go to the theater. And the teacher told us that she'd heard that somebody had gone to the movie that weekend and was walking up and down the aisle, and you absolutely should not do that. You know, and just gave us a lecture on what to do and what not to do. You'll make it rough for the other people. So I think you get those scripts when you grow up black, so I always thought we had the script, and it took us a while to say no, this is not right. We don't have to do that."
- Sylvester HackneyThe Varsity Theatre, originally the Carolina Theatre, opened in 1927 on East Franklin Street. In 1942, when a new Carolina Theatre space opened on the corner of Franklin and Columbia streets, the theater was renamed the Village Theater. In 1951, new management renamed it the Varsity Theatre, which it has remained into the 2020s. The movie theater was picketed by civil rights activists protesting segregation in 1960 and 1961, and in 1961 the theater allowed Black UNC students to attend. In February 1962, the theater integrated fully.
"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"
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