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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Fri., Feb. 15, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

Two ushers at the Casino Theater in Spokane were arrested and fined for attempting to enforce a seating segregation policy at the theater.

Frank A. Stokes, a prominent black Spokane citizen, and the Rev. A.J. Dennis, a well-known black preacher, took seats on the right side of the theater – although the theater customarily set aside a block of seats on the left side of the theater for “colored people.” 

The ushers asked them to go sit on the left side. Stokes “balked and insisted on seating where he chose.”

The ushers attempted to “escort” Stokes to the other side of the theater. Stokes said he would rather leave the theater than go to the designated seats. At one point, he shouted, “Put me out, put me out.” 

So the ushers led him to the door, apparently pretty roughly. An altercation ensued. The theater manager offered to refund the admission, but Stokes and Dennis swore out a complaint against the ushers. 

Judge George W. Stocker found the ushers guilty of assault and fined them $10 each plus court costs.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1933: President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt in Miami that mortally wounded Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak; gunman Giuseppe Zangara was executed more than four weeks later.

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