MACON, Ga. — This year, one Macon theater is celebrating 100 years of excellence.
If you've ever driven down Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard in Macon, chances are, you've seen the Douglass Theatre.
"The Douglass was started by Charles Henry Douglass, 100 years ago in 1921. In fact, he was just a serial entrepreneur," Douglass Board Member, Weston Stroud Said.
In an era of segregation in the United States, a wealthy Black business man named Charles Douglass wanted to create a place where Black people could enjoy the arts.
As Stroud explains, Douglass was inspired after facing a common problem back in that day in time.
"He wasn't allowed to sit in the traditional seats at the Grand Opera House, so he figured he was going to build his own, so he built his own space to create an elevated experience for the Black citizens of Macon," Stroud said.
The Douglass would go on to host performers like Little Richard, James Brown, Ma Rainey, and Otis Redding. It also served as a venue for stage plays and more.
"By providing an elevated experience, not only for the customers, but for the artist, to be appreciated for their art form," Stroud said.
Old spaces at the Douglass used to house a restaurant, but now serve as an event space. Upstairs, leaders at the Douglass says a hotel would serve Black people traveling or performing at the venue.
"If you think about it, 100 years of greatness. It is something rare in America to see Black businesses and Black history be able to sustain such a long ability of excellence," Stroud said.