Tag Archives: Black entertainment

The 1978 Miss Black Ripley Pageant

9 Sep

Anyone remember The Miss Black Ripley Pageants?

As I have looked for information on them,  I cannot help but think of what a source of pride these pageants were for the Black community. Starting in 1977 with sponsorship by the Nathaniel Lodge No. 216 and coordinated by James T. Pitts of Pitts Barbershop, these pageants featured Black female contestants in a swimsuit competition, talent competition, formal wear competition, and a question and answer competition.

The first year of The Miss Black Ripley Pageant was 1977 with Jackie Springfield being crowned winner.

The second year, 1978, the pageant was coordinated by James T. Pitts with assistance from Linda Russell, Christine Shaw, and Linda Cooper. On April 16, 1978 at 6:00 pm the Ripley High School Little Theater hosted the pageant. It was also sponsored by The Nathaniel Lodge No. 216. The contestants of the 1978 pageant were Johnnie M. Parker, Mary Owens, Carolyn Graves, Rose Parker, Rose M. Bonds, and Geraldine Clay.

In 1978 the pageant was won by Geraldine Clay with Rose Bonds, Carolyn Graves, and Rose Parker as runner-ups.

New Miss Black Ripley 1978

New Miss Black Ripley 1978

          From The Lauderdale County Enterprise April 26, 1978 Edition

 The 1978 pageant booklet contains the names and advertisements of various additional sponsors and businesses such as Berg and Shafer, Thompson’s Mortuary, Pitts Barbershop, Malone’s Bar-B-Q, Rozelle Criner Furniture Company, Halls Flower and Gift Shop, and Montgomery and Son Plumbing among others. Stroll through the 1978 pageant booklet below.

– Tiffany

– Source: 1978 Miss Black Ripley Pageant Booklet, The Lauderdale County Enterprise April 26, 1978 edition


Would You Like To See A Movie?

1 Mar

Throughout the years Ripley had its fair share of movie theaters calling the downtown/Court Square area their home. Over the years Ripley had the following theaters,

Roxy Theater the year Rice Park Opened

Roxy Theater the year Rice Park opened

The Strand Theater (0wned by a Memphis based company)

The Roxy Theater

The Dixie Theater

The Webb Theater (owned by Aubrey Webb)

As with most theaters during segregation African Americans paid the same fare as everyone else, but could only sit in the balcony.

I’m curious to know if these theaters ever played popular African American movies of the time, but I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that.

According to a former Ripley resident,

“The Webb Theater was my favorite, but most folks like the Strand the best. Seemed like the Roxy was only around for a little while. I used to pay 9 cents to see a movie. I don’t know how they made any money charging 9 cents. They used to have a little stand that sold snacks and black people could go and get snacks and then you had to go to the balcony. I remember one day me and [name removed] were sitting in the balcony at the Webb. I think we went down there together. He took a water pistol and was shooting water down on the white people. He did it a few times. Then Aubrey Webb come up to the balcony with a flashlight and kicked him out! Don’t remember how they figured it was him doing it. I stayed and watched the movie.”

Dixie Theater - July 13, 1917

Dixie Theater – July 13, 1917

Strand Theater January 21, 1944

Strand Theater January 21, 1944

Advertisements from the Dixie Theater and the Strand Theater featured in the Lauderdale County Enterprise

Other area theaters included

The Savoy and The Capitol – Dyersburg

The Gem and The Ritz – Brownsville

The Gem, The Paramount, The Lyric – Jackson

The Pix – Henning

The Halls Theater – Halls

Do any of you all have memories of these theaters? Which movie theater was your favorite? What movies did you see there? Who did you go to the movies with? Does anyone remember the locations of these theaters?

– Tiffany

Sources: Lauderdale County Enterprise July 13, 1917 edition (Dixie Theater) , Lauderdale County Enterprise January 21, 1944 edition (Strand Theater), movie-theater.org, cinematreasures.org

Image Source: Lauderdale County from its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters (Roxy Theater)

The New Grand Theatre – Jackson, TN

21 Nov

I found this ad in The Freeman Illustrated Colored Newspaper June 29, 1912 edition.

New Grand Theatre June 29, 1912 – The Freeman Illustrated Colored Newspaper

Because the ad was found in a Black newspaper I’d take a guess that the New Grand Theatre might have been an establishment for Blacks or an establishment that did not mind having Black acts perform. Has anyone heard of this theater? I did a quick google search, but did not turn up with any leads.


– Tiffany