Alice Lowery: Sparking Change One Theater at a Time


Segregation is a shameful part of North Carolina history. Western North Carolina was not an exception. The amount of change a single person can make in a community can be drastically underestimated. North Carolinian and Canton resident Alice Lowery is a prime example of the impact a simple action may have on a community and its race relations. 

In the early 1960s, Alice Lowery decided to attend a movie at the historic Colonial Theater in Canton with her daughter. This was a bold decision, made during a time where the racist policy of segregration prevented minority families out of public places simply for the color of their skin. However, Alice tackled the issue herself, calling the theater and asserting that she was going to attend a movie.

This assertive action shows how a single person can change the views of a community. The theater's manager decided to allow her and her daughter to stay after her insistence. Today, the Colonial Theater can be attended by any and all members of the community.

An understanding of the struggles African-Americans encountered concerning public spaces, like theatres, during the era of segregation is an important component of the fight against racism and race relations today. In order to emphasize the impact a single person and a small act of resistance can have, the story of Alice Lowery's determination can be referenced as a beacon for those attempting to improve race relations today.


Marilyn Goble, Joel Foster, Kate McDannold