In 1897, Edward W. Anderson, a prominent entrepreneur and political organizer, and his wife, Mary, were refused seats for a performance at the Fisher Opera House. When they were denied their chosen seats near the orchestra, theater manager John C. Fisher explained, “I do not allow colored people on that floor.” Anderson filed a lawsuit for $299 in damages, and was awarded $150. The judgement was reversed by a higher court on Fisher’s appeal and Anderson was ordered to pay Fisher $9.25 in damages. Even though Anderson’s legal action was ultimately unsuccessful, his challenge set a legal precedent.
Pictured Above: Fisher Opera House, 1902