millington w. bergeson-lockwood On a Saturday in January 1885, Richard Brown, a night inspector of customs and prominent member of Boston's black community, and two of his grandchildren, Louisa and Richard Lewis, approached the ticket booth at the Boston Roller Skating Rink, owned by Frank Winslow. George Hawes, the rink's ticket agent, immediately informed Brown that the establishment was private and that African Americans were not welcome. Brown objected, arguing that the rink publicly advertised, called for the patronage of the public, and was not, therefore, a private facility. Hawes was moved by neither Brown's appeal nor his crying grandchildren, and upon his orders, two or three men grabbed Brown by the collar as the three were "violently thrust out of the building." Brown was angered not only by the general insult but because the incident took place in front of his grandchildren. They, Brown explained in a petition to Boston's city council for the revocation of the rink's license, had been born after the Civil War, and "since the abolition of slavery had never till then known the extent of the prejudice which once existed against their race and color and which lingers among ill informed persons."
The Journal of the Civil War Era – University of North Carolina Press
Published: May 7, 2015