The Moton Theatre

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

An informative article, I wrote, about a historical building that was, once, theatrical in the city of Newport News, Virginia

The Moton Theatre

 

 [Date: 7-17-2021]

 

In Virginia of the United States, known to be the final theatrical building that operated in Newport News for the Black Community is the “Moton Theatre”, receiving a historical marker from the city. From Nineteen-Forty-One to Nineteen-Sixty-Six, the theatre of motion pictures was active, which held a single theatre room inside the building with five hundred and fifty-seven seats. Moton Theatre stood at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and 21st Street, addressed at “2101 Jefferson Avenue, Newport News, Virginia 23607”. In ’Seventy-Eight, the building was purchased, then reopened in ‘Eighty-One after renovation had been completed—renamed as “The Moton Community House”.

Hosted by Pearl Bailey, a special dedication ceremony was thrown at The Moton Community House. Now deceased, Pearl Bailey was a native of Newport News, born March Twenty-Nineth of Nineteen-Eighteen. She became and actress and a singer, even making her debut in “St. Louse Woman” back in ‘Forty-Six and winning the Tony Award in ‘Sixty-Eight for the title role in the all-black production for “Hello, Dolly!”.

More about the Moton Theatre, a member of a non-profit organization that is called “Greater South-East Development Cooperation” speaks on Moton memories. Joni Ivy mentions watching movies on Saturdays for a nickel after she’d hop on the bus at Newson Park, getting off at 20th Street. Memories have been told by many others as well.

Informed by a retired executive director of The Moton Community Center, Linwood DeBrew, the building had been a billiard hall before Moton Theatre came into place, beginning in Nineteen-Twenty-Eight. He mentions, also, of there being a time you could get into the theatre freely by bringing in a candy wrapper—as he was a child. Keeping the exact appearance as the old days, the building is painted white for the exterior walls, while the entrance area is painted bright orange.

 

Written by Troy “The Ghost-Bull” Powell


Submitted: July 17, 2021

© Copyright 2021 The Ghost-Bull. All rights reserved.

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