Segregated Stairways? (Yes – Fifty Years Ago)


NINETY-SEVEN. That’s how many stairs African-American movie-goers had to walk up at the Carolina Theater in Durham, North Carolina.  After climbing the stairs and purchasing tickets, they sat in designated balcony seating – the only place they were allowed to sit.     

Then the civil rights movement brought all kinds of changes. In July 1963, the stairway and the seating requirements were desegregated.  

Today, the side entrance to the theater is unmarked. The staircase is nicely carpeted in red with wooden rails. While it is still in use, customers seem to prefer the front entrance stairs and the elevator. The elevator to the second balcony now opens to a permanent exhibit of large, black and white photographs called “Confronting Change.” This display is, perhaps, the Carolina Theater’s self-conscious examination of civil rights history.


(Adapted from the article by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, Feb. 26, 2014.)


Photo source:


Dancing at the Destination


From the Globe and Mail. October 28, 2013

Moment in Time  (by Kim Mackrael)

October 28, 1830. Escaped slave Josiah Henson reaches Canada

It was an autumn morning when Josiah Henson first set foot on Canadian soil after a grueling journey with his wife and four children.

After crossing the Niagara River from Buffalo, he recalled, “I threw myself on the ground, rolled in the sand, seized handfuls of it and kissed them, and danced around, till, in the eyes of several who were present, I passed for a madman.”

A staunch Methodist preacher, Henson founded a settlement for former slaves in Dawn Township near Dresden, Ont., and worked to help others escape the U.S. South via the Underground Railroad. But he’s perhaps best known as the inspiration for the main character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an abolitionist novel often said to have helped start the U.S. Civil War.