top of page
1961 — Students in sympathy boycott of Jim Crow Paramount theater chain 

In February, 1961, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organized picketing of the Paramount movie theaters in the Bay Area, in support of a nationwide boycott of the Paramount chain.  At that time, Paramount's theatres in the South had a strict Jim Crow policy banning blacks and whites from sitting in the same theater to watch a movie.


In the early sixties, communities In major cities across the South organized protests against segregation in local movie houses.   Notably, a three-year campaign by the Students For Direct Action (SDA) in Austin, Texas succeeded in ending local theater segregation the year before the U.S. Congress acted in support of desegregation.  With the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, initially proposed by President Kennedy in early 1963 and pushed through Congress (over a Republican filibuster) by President Lyndon Johnson, Democratic Senator Hubert Humphrey and Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen.   Discrimination and segregation in public facilities became illegal and most theaters in the South opened their doors to unsegregated audiences.


CORE picketers at  Paramount theatre in San Francisco, February 1961.

Paramount picket S.F3 small.jpg

San Francisco, February 1961.  Demonstrators protesting Paramount's Southern  Jim Crow policies.


In front of the Regal theater, next to the San Francisco Paramount. The man on the right wanted to talk to the protesters while the man in the middle smoked his pipe and listened in.

Paramount picket S.F no3.jpg

Taking photographs was more fun for me than hours walking the picket line. 

bottom of page