movies, segregation, Jim Crow, theatre, sexuality, censorship


This paper explores the complex desegregation process of movie theatres in the southern United States. Building off of historiography that investigates regulations of postwar teenage sexuality and recent scholarly work that acknowledges the link between sexuality and civil rights, I argue that movie theatres had a uniquely delayed desegregation process due to perceived sexual intrigue of the dark, private theatre space. Through analysis of drive-in and hardtop theatres, censorship of on-screen content, and youth involvement in desegregation, I contend that anxieties of interracial intimacy and unsupervised teenage sexuality produced this especially prolonged integration process.