The Dixie Bell Theater / The March of Discontent Historical

The Dixie Bell Theater / The March of Discontent Historical (HM1XWH)

Location: Tupelo, MS 38804 Lee County
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Country: United States of America
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N 34° 15.706', W 88° 42.267'

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—Heritage Trails Enrichment Program —

The Dixie Bell Theater

The rights of African-Americans during Reconstruction were greatly increased, and passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Acts of 1875 seemed to promise more gains. However, the Supreme Court's ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 paved the way for Jim Crow laws, a series of anti-black laws enacted primarily, but not exclusively, in Southern and border states from the late 1800s to the mid-1960s. These laws allowed races to be kept separate with separate schools, hotels, restrooms, parks, libraries, restaurants and theaters. "Whites Only" or "Colored" signs were posted at entrances, exits, waiting rooms and water fountains. Tupelo's 300-seat Dixie Belle Theater located just west of here at 407 Spring Street, operated exclusively for African-Americans from 1950 to 1955 and served an important role in the community. Many an adult and child enjoyed escaping to watch movies of the times. As part of the social center for the black community on Green Street, touring blues, jazz and R&B acts also performed at the Dixie Belle.

The March of Discontent

In 1964, marching black citizens and Tupelo police confronted each other here, at this property that housed the Royal
Crown Cola Bottling Plant. The Tupelo Civic Improvement Club, the precursor in Tupelo to the NAACP, was a body of black citizens working to gain more rights for the African-American community by addressing issues such as increasing voter registration, integration of public schools and minority hiring. They held meetings throughout the black
community. At a meeting at the Henry Hampton Elks Lodge of Tupelo, the capacity crowd decided to march downtown to air their grievances. This was named the "March of Discontent." Citizens along the way joined be group as they made their way past black businesses in the Green street business district - businesses like Debro's Café, Pig Foot and the Lamplighter Inn. As they marched down North Spring Street they approached a police barricade near the RC Cola Plant. A disturbance erupted and several windows in the RC Cola plant were broken out. The police demanded the crowd disband, and while they refused, they did turn around and march back toward the Elks Lodge. After the march, a curfew was enacted and many areas in the African-American community were blocked off.
Year Placed2014
Placed ByThe Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, April 16th, 2017 at 5:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 343073 N 3792495
Decimal Degrees34.26176667, -88.70445000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 15.706', W 88° 42.267'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 15' 42.36" N, 88° 42' 16.02" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)662
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 400 N Spring St, Tupelo MS 38804, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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