Touring across the US with an interracial theater company in 1961-62 was a constant revelation to me. This was prior to the Civil Rights movement and, coming from Britain, I had no idea how revolutionary this play was. This is from the National Tour of Shelagh Delaney’s “A Taste Of Honey,” produced by David Merrick, directed by Tony Richardson, and starring Hermione Baddeley, Robert Hooks, Harvey Jason and Ed Claymore. We endured many incidents of racial prejudice as we toured and here is just one that Actors Equity recently chose to print in their monthly newspaper. (From: "Black & White in America" - a memoir)
EQUITY NEWS, March 2013, Letters to The Editor. Page 12
AEA BATTLES SEGREGATION
Congratulation on AEA’s 100 years fighting for Human Rights.
In 1961, when on tour with A Taste of Honey, we played Ford’s Theatre in Baltimore. Robert Hooks told us that, the year before, the cast of the National Tour of A Raisin in the Sun had been refused service at famous seafood restaurant, Millers. After the Wednesday matinee, 14 members of our company went to Millers for dinner. As Robert reached the entrance first, a waiter rushed to the doors and, to stop us from entering, put his arm through the inside handles. Other personnel inside gathered behind him, arms waving “no” and “go away.”
From within, an official looking man signaled the waiter to remove his arm, then calmly and methodically locked the door from inside. He waved contemptuously to us to go away and disappeared out of our line of vision, taking his lackeys with him.
Our Equity representative made a full report to Equity, which sent a directive to their entire membership not to patronize Millers. Two years later Millers closed down.
Morna Murphy Martell