Lincoln Theatre

Lincoln Theatre

Lincoln Theatre, located on "Washington's Black Broadway", served the city's African American community when segregation kept them out of other venues.

Construction of the Lincoln Theatre began in the summer of 1921, and it opened in 1922. The Lincoln Theatre, which showed silent film and vaudeville, served the city's black community. The theatre was designed by Reginald Geare, in collaboration with Harry Crandall, a local theater operator.

In 1927, the Lincoln Theatre was sold to A.E. Lichtman, who decided to turn it into a luxurious movie house, and added a ballroom. The theatre was wired for sound in 1928. The ballroom, known as Lincoln Colonnade, and the theater were known as the center of "Washington's Black Broadway".

Performers at Lincoln Theatre have included Duke Ellington, Pearl Bailey, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Lena Horne, the Mills Brothers, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan.

A television projection system was installed at Lincoln Theatre in 1952. The movie house televised boxing fights on many occasions, such as the Sugar Ray Robinson-Joey Maxim bout on June 25, 1952.

The theater closed after the 1968 race-related riots. It was restored and reopened in 1994, and hosts a variety of performances and events.

The Lincoln Theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.