Dixie Theatre

1200 Main Street,
Fort Worth, TX 76102

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The Dixie Theatre is most infamous of the silent era theatres in downtown Fort Worth. The Dixie Theatre was a struggling photoplay theatre and operator DeWitt Feagles closed late in 1910 but sublet the theatre to operator William Evans who relaunched the Dixie Theatre as an African American house on February 27, 1911.

A number of female, white theatre box office attendants protested to strike against the Dixie Theatre’s policy change on February 27th. Competing theatre owner Louis Cummings called the police to try and have the theatre shut down. The police wanted to shut the business but said it had no grounds to do so. So the Fort Worth public decided to take matters into its own hands in the early evening throwing rocks through the ornamental glass and striking at least one employee with a thrown brick.

Police responded quickly and convinced Evans to close the theatre at around 6:30p. The police announced to the crowd, “Mr. Evans told me to ask you not to do any (further) damage. He is sincerely sorry that he has opened this negro show and promises you on his word of honor that he will never make the mistake again. He asks your pardon.”

But that didn’t work so well as the mob attacked the theatre goers as they exited and ultimately destroyed the theatre within an hour. The job done there, the mob reported to be 1,000 strong at its height took out that anger on the African American Methodist Episcopal Church which was having Monday night services as well as businesses near the Dixie Theatrer. So the race riots of February 27, 1911 marked the last day of operation for the Dixie Theatre.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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