Paramount Theater in Marshall, TX

photo © Julia Wertz

Abandoned buildings are a minor obsession of mine, one of those obsessions I wish I had more time to follow. Until I have more time to take photos of my own, I’ll continue to keep an eye on Julia Wertz’s excellent Fourth Floor blog. The most recent feature is the beautiful Paramount Theatre in Marshall, Texas. The theater has a deep history, especially as it relates to the civil rights era. I was surprised to see this particular theater’s importance to Dr. James Farmer (who, as I’ve mentioned, was one of my college professors). According to the blog:

The theater played an influential role in the founding of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1942. James Farmer, co-founder of CORE and patron of the Paramount, cited the theater’s “offending side entrance” as one of the motivations for the movement.

Beyond the theater, the town of Marshall was “the epicenter of [the Civil Rights Movement] in Texas.” On March 26th 1960, thirteen black college students conducted a sit-in at the whites only lunch counter at Woolworth’s. They were told the counter was closed, and repeated attempts of more sit-ins garnered the same bullshit response.

It’s a shame that the theater has fallen into such disrepair given its historical significance.

Read the post and view the full Flickr set.