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Robert J. “Bob” Booker on seeing movies in segregated Knoxville


“Well, I lived in a neighborhood at that time that
was, I guess, half white and half black, and I played quite often with white boys. We had
a little club house that we would meet in. We would hop the freight trains and do things
like that. Then one day, somebody said, ‘Let’s go to the movie.’ We said, ‘OK, let’s go.’
Hadn’t thought about anything except we walked down Depot to Gay Street to the Bijou. They
went in the front door. and I went in the side door up the fire escape, and we saw the movie. I
don’t remember what it was now. But after the movie, we met back in front of the Bijou
and walked back to the neighborhood. “It was a part of life. I don’t think any
of us thought about racial discrimination at the time, you know. We were just boys playing.
And somebody said, let’s go see a movie, and that’s what we did.

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