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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tupelo in Lee County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

The Dixie Bell Theater / The March of Discontent

 

—Heritage Trails Enrichment Program —

 
The Dixie Bell Theater Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 7, 2017
1. The Dixie Bell Theater Marker
Inscription.
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
The March of Discontent Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 7, 2017
2. The March of Discontent Marker
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.
 
Erected 2014 by the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau.
 
Location. 34° 15.706′ N, 88° 42.267′ W. Marker is in Tupelo, Mississippi, in Lee County. Marker
The Dixie Bell Theater just north of the marker. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 7, 2017
3. The Dixie Bell Theater just north of the marker.
is at the intersection of West Franklin Street and North Spring Street, on the right when traveling west on West Franklin Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 108 West Franklin Street, Tupelo MS 38804, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Younger Cabin / Confederate Headquarters (approx. 0.2 miles away); Tupelo Confederate Soldiers Monument (approx. ¼ mile away); Tupelo Hardware (approx. 0.3 miles away); Tupelo Baptist Church / Kind Treatment for the Wounded (approx. 0.3 miles away); Sit-Ins Led to Civil Rights Act of 1964 / F.W. Woolworth (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Iron Furnace / Front Street (approx. 0.4 miles away); Elvis Presley and Tupelo (approx. 0.4 miles away); In Commemoration of Hernando De Soto (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tupelo.
 
More about this marker. The March of Discontent marker is the fourth Civil Rights and African-American Heritage Trail maker in the Heritage Trails Enrichment Program.
 
Also see . . .  Civil rights marker unveiled on Spring Street. (Submitted on April 16, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicCivil Rights
 
The view east on Franklin Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 7, 2017
4. The view east on Franklin Street.
Looking north on Spring Street towards the former Dixie Bell Theater. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 7, 2017
5. Looking north on Spring Street towards the former Dixie Bell Theater.
Building is now being used as a church.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on April 16, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 70 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 16, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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