Film Ban Expresses Racial Censorship in 1945

The esteemed Paramount Theater (also known as the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall) located on Broadway in Portland, Oregon, was banned from showing the controversial film “Imitation of Life”. The film, starring Louise Beavers and Fredi Washington told a story of a daughter in the film who supports the negro population by creating friendships and bonds in the negro community. The film expressed the cause of controversy in the white community.

During the Nickelodeon period, Jim Crow laws were still in effect. The theaters would separate seating by a persons color. In result, "Negros" were often subject to sit in balconies, opposite sides of the theater or even attend midnight showings to be allowed to attend public theater showings. Even years later, Portland’s Paramount theater disapproved of negro audience members as the Portland Inquirer October 12,1945 article title “Atlanta Film Censor Bans ‘Imitation of Life’ Revival” states that the Paramount theater has “no space for Negro patronage”. But what was especially surprising about this article was that Paramount theater was actually asking for permission to run the film.