Casey Hayden

“I wanted to do direct action.“

Casey Hayden (she was known then as Sandra Cason) had been instrumental in organizing the Students for Direct Action, based in the University Y near the campus. Her group talked and decided on a creative strategy. They would all go in a group, line up, ask to buy a ticket for themselves and their African American friend, and when denied, get back in line, and ask again when they got to the front. They jammed up the lines, but strictly followed the law. It had a sizable affect on sales. The Stand-in effort was incredibly successful. It took a year, but they achieved national exposure, and inspired similar efforts. Eleanor Roosevelt took notice and wrote about it in her national syndicated column. The Paramount Corporation caved, and, with one announcement, changed their policy of segregation throughout the South in all their theaters.

Photo of Casey Hayden