Mount Airy Missionary Baptist Church

I learned an interesting story about this church and its parking lot at the southwest corner of Marcus and Maffitt in the Greater Ville neighborhood. If you look closely, it becomes obvious that the large white rectangle on the brick wall is in fact an old movie screen, and the parking lot is a former air dome, where movies were played outside in the warmer months of the year.

The adjoining church was originally the Queens Theater, which opened in 1919, and closed in 1955. I learned from several members of the church that the theater was also segregated, and African Americans were only allowed to sit outside in the air dome, while whites were allowed inside the theater. Today, African Americans worship where they were once forbidden. Interestingly, there is still at least one projection tower left in the southernmost tip of the Fox Park neighborhood, a remnant of the Princess Theater. This screen is the only remaining one that I know of in the city. By the way, a couple of people have taken advantage of the laws on the books still allowing outdoor movie theaters and have opened a small air dome in a side lot of the Heavy Anchor in the Bevo neighborhood known as Arkadin Cinema and Bar.

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