Primary Resource

Separation of Races (1926)

In Chapter 73A of the 1926 Supplement to the Virginia Code of 1924, "Separation of Races," also known as the Public Assemblages Act, the General Assembly required the racial segregation of all public events in Virginia. The act became law without the signature of Governor Harry F. Byrd Sr. on March 22, 1926, and was one of three so-called racial integrity laws passed between 1924 and 1930.

Transcription from Original

TITLE 15A.
Regulation of Public Halls.
CHAPTER 73A.
Separation of Races.

§ 1796a.
Duty to separate; penalty for failure.
—It shall be the duty of any person, persons, firm, institution, or corporation, operating, maintaining, keeping, conducting, sponsoring or permitting any public hall, theatre, opera house, motion picture show or any place of public entertainment or public assemblage which is attended by both white and colored persons, to separate the white race and the colored race, and to set apart and designate in each such public hall, theatre, opera house, motion picture show or place of public entertainment or public assemblage, certain seats therein to be occupied by white persons, and a portion thereof, or certain seats therein, to be occupied by colored persons, and any such person, persons, firms, institutions or corporations that shall fail, refuse or neglect to comply with the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars for each offense. (1926, pp. 945, 946.)

§ 1796b.
Failure to take seat assigned.
—All persons who fail, while in any public hall, theatre, opera house, motion picture show or any place of public entertainment or public assemblage, to take and occupy the seat or seats of other space assigned to them in pursuance of the provisions of this act by the manager, author, or other person in charge of such public hall, theatre, opera house, motion picture show or any place of public entertainment or public assemblage, or whose duty is to take up tickets or collect the admission from the guests therein, or who shall fail to obey the request of such manager, usher, or other person, as aforesaid, to change their seats from time to time as occasion requires, an order that this act may be complied with, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than ten dollars nor more than twenty-five dollars for each offense. Furthermore such person may be ejected from such public hall, theatre, opera house, motion picture show or other place of public entertainment or public assemblage, by any manager, usher, or ticket taker, or other person in charge of such public hall, theatre, opera house, motion picture show or any place of public entertainment or public assemblage, or by the police officer or any other conservator of the peace, and if such person ejected shall have paid admission into said public hall, theatre, opera house, motion picture

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show, or other public entertainment or public assemblage, he shall not be entitled to a return of any part of the same. (1926, p. 946.)