Protesting Ford’s Theatre

Protesting Jim Crow admission policy at Ford’s Theatre, Baltimore, Maryland. Paul Henderson, 1948. Maryland Historical Society, HEN.00.A2-156.

The protest of Ford’s Theatre, where blacks were forced to sit in the balcony, began in 1946 and lasted seven years. Many of the popular plays during this time bypassed Baltimore because the produces and actors would not condone the policy of segregation. Others, like opera singer Paul Robeson (second from left), came to Baltimore specifically to protest. The protest was lead by the Jackson Family, Mitchell Family, NAACP and Interracial Fellowship Youth (with A. Robert Kauffman as President). In 1953, Governor Theodore McKeldin received the Hollander Foundation Award for his leadership and particularly for his help in integrating Ford’s Theatre (during which time he was Mayor of Baltimore). Dr. John E. T. Camper, Civil Rights activist and chairman of the Citizens Committee for Justice is fourth from left.

C. Fraser Smith, Here Lies Jim Crow: Civil Rights in Maryland; AFRO-AMERICAN, February 19, 1949

Image information:
Protesting Jim Crow admission policy at Ford’s Theatre (Paul Robeson, second from left, Dr. E.T. Camper, fourth from left)
314-320 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, Maryland
March 1948
Paul Samuel Henderson, 1899-1988
Digital reproduction from 4 in. x 5 in. acetate negative
Paul Henderson Photograph Collection, HEN.00.A2-156
Maryland Historical Society

More photographs of the protest at Ford’s Theatre by Paul Henderson:

Google Maps Street view of 314 West Fayette Street today:



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