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Saturday, July 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Jury sides with black man who sued segregated theater

A Spokane jury awarded S.S. Moore, described as “colored,” a judgment of $200 after he sued the Pantages Theater for ordering him to sit in the second balcony. An usher told Moore that it was “the custom of the theater to put negroes there.” (Spokesman-Review archives)
A Spokane jury awarded S.S. Moore, described as “colored,” a judgment of $200 after he sued the Pantages Theater for ordering him to sit in the second balcony. An usher told Moore that it was “the custom of the theater to put negroes there.” (Spokesman-Review archives)

A Spokane jury awarded S.S. Moore, described as “colored,” a judgment of $200 after he sued the Pantages Theater for ordering him to sit in the second balcony. An usher told Moore that it was “the custom of the theater to put negroes there.”

Moore objected and left.

He subsequently sued the Pantages for $5,000 for embarrassment and humiliation.

“All of us were for damages from the start,” said one of the jurors. “All declared that even if a man were black he had the right to sit where he wanted to. We figured, though, that $200 was enough balm for Moore’s humiliation.”

The Spokane Daily Chronicle noted that the verdict was of “widespread importance,” since it affirmed the right of equal accommodation in any place of public amusement in the state.

From the drowning beat: Searchers were still attempting to locate the bodies of five men who drowned several days earlier in Priest Lake after their small boat overturned in the wee hours.

A “water telescope” was being employed in an effort to “penetrate the darkness of the waters.”

Searchers had made a futile attempt to dynamite the lake to bring up the bodies. But volunteers were now dragging the lake.

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