May 17, 1958
Three young Negro men were free today following their arrest last night at the Plaza Theater, where they created a disturbance when they were refused admittance.
Two of the Negroes are Ft. Bliss soldiers and the other is a Texas Western College student.
A white youth, 18, also was arrested and held for Military Police because he had no military pass or identification card.
The three Negroes tried to buy tickets to see "St. Louis Blues," a movie with an all-colored cast. Told that it was not theater policy to admit Negroes, the three blocked the front window of the box office so that the line in back could not buy tickets.
Two Radio Patrol officers went to the theater and asked the Negroes to move away, but they refused. The officers arrested them on charges of loitering. The officers reported the white youth stood by and made remarks and "seemed to be attempting to cause more trouble." He also was arrested.
John Paxton, manager of Interstate Theater in El Paso, telephoned police headquarters that his company would not press charges, an the three Negroes were released with a warning. Police said the trio wore buttons of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.
Not at Theater
Mr. Paxton, who was not at the theater, said he received a telephone call at his home from a man who identified himself as a Negro, but not by name, half an hour before the incident. Mr. Paxton said the caller informed him he was going to enter the theater regardless of whether he was sold a ticket.
Mr. Paxton said he has met with Negro leaders several times and explained that present policy of Interstate Theaters, with headquarters in Dallas, is not to cater to Negro clientele.
He said he was informed that Texas law still permits privately operated, non-tax supported institutions to select their customers.