This week we begin an ongoing feature taking a look back at life in Rockdale County in the past. If you have a "Remember When" memory you would like to submit, call 678-750-5037 or e-mail email@example.com.
Coach Cleveland Stroud, a lifelong resident of the county and current Conyers city councilman, was one of the first black faculty members when Rockdale County Comprehensive High School was integrated in 1970. He recalled the experience of integrating the movie theater on Main Street.
Life was so different back then. It was different but it was accepted back in the days of segregation. We hadn’t experienced what we experience now. Rights were really curtailed back then, especially for black people.
I can’t remember demonstrating but one time. We went down and integrated the movie theater. A group of about six of us. We were all young at that time, in our mid to late 20s
That was the only movie theater back then. They would show the same feature on Monday and Tuesday, a different feature on Wednesday, and another on Thursday and Friday. And cowboy movies on Saturday.
The white clientele would go downstairs the black clientele would go upstairs. It was accepted back then. I don’t think anyone knew any better.
It stayed that way until, in the 60s, a group of us went to down and bought tickets and went downstairs and sat down.
There were two different ticket counters for blacks and whites. We went to the white ticket counter. The ticket seller gave us a "Are you sure this is what you want to do?" look, but as far as getting real resistance, no body refused.
I think everyone knew the page had been turned and this is the way it was going to be.
I can't remember the movie. It was a sorry movie. It had some airplanes. Someone said, "We came out, we risked our lives for that sorry movie?" We should have picked a better movie.
But at least there weren’t that many people in there. If it had been a better movie, there may have been a bigger crowd there.
Next week: Dan Ray, Tax Commissioner, on "being the new kid in town."