Joske’s Protest

 

Joske’s of Texas, which was the leading department store in San Antonio, announced that two of its exclusive restaurants would remain closed to blacks after many restaurants in the city had integrated (1).  Joskey’s announced they would change their policy only when all other restaurants in the city did the same (2).  This of course was unacceptable to the NAACP, who began sit-in demonstrations at the stores restaurants on April 23 (3).  

Around fifty protestors were refused service on the first day.  The disruption closed the store to all customers.  Store guards were placed at the store to ensure that only white customers were allowed to enter the restaurants.  Blacks protested this move by standing in the doorways and blocking customer traffic.  Protestors also called for employees to quit Joske’s (4). 

On May 3, the Joske’s restaurants were closed until further notice due to a slapping and pushing incident involving a protestor and a white patron wanting to enter the restaurant.

After a series of meeting and letters from black and white churches, Joske’s integrated its restaurants in late summer (5).  This incident consumed time and energy and slowed the momentum generated during the lunch counter desegregation (6).  The protest of Joske’s also focused attention on one business when many more in San Antonio had still failed to integrate.

 

 

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Goldberg, Robert A.  “Racial Changes on the Southern Periphery:  The Case of San Antonio, Texas, 1960-1965.”  The Journal of Southern History 49 (August 1983): 349-374