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Remembering UT student ‘stand-ins’ to integrate theaters [Video]

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Black Entrepreneurs

Sixty-four years ago this spring, students used a prank to force white-only movie theaters to open their doors to Black Austinites.

AUSTIN, Texas — In 1960, Austin was essentially two cities: one in which whites enjoyed unfettered freedom, and one where Blacks were not allowed into many local, white-owned businesses, which include stores, restaurants and theaters.

That same year, a small group of UT students, most of whom were white, began protests at two movie theaters on the Drag in an attempt to force them to admit Blacks.

The Varsity Theater and the Texas Theater were targets for protests, known as “stand-ins.”

“We would walk in line and we had to have at least one black student come out with us because we were mostly white and we would get in line at the ticket window and ask if we could buy two tickets or a ticket for myself and …

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