Paul McCartney proud of The Beatles anti-segregation contract
20th Sep 2016
The discovery of documents detailing The Beatles stance against racial segregation in the U.S. has filled Paul McCartney with pride.
During a 1964 American tour the legendary group were scheduled to play the Gator Bowl Stadium (now EverBank Field) in Jacksonville, Florida.
After the booking of the concert, bandmembers Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr learned of plans by authorities to insist the audience was divided along racial lines - as happened in many southern U.S. states at the time.
As a result the band stipulated in their contracts they would not perform if the crowd was segregated, a fact which was detailed in documents unearthed by director Ron Howard during the making of documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years show.
"When we were making the film, all these little facts had come out and Ron was sifting through them with his team," Paul tells Buzzfeed.com. "We were due to play Jacksonville (Florida) in the States and we found out that it was going to be a segregated audience - blacks one side, whites the other - and it just seemed so mad, we couldn't understand that. So we just said, 'We're not playing that!'"
In the period between the concert's scheduling and it going ahead in September 1964, the Civil Rights Act, banning all racial segregation in public places was signed into law by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Paul admits he still swells with pride when recalling the gig, and how it was the first desegregated concert for the young African-Americans who attended.
"The concert we did do was the first non-segregated audience," he adds. "And there was a girl, Kitty, who remembers it well as her first contact with whites, really, in a concert situation.
"So I'm very proud of that and it actually ended up in our contract - 'will not play segregated audiences' - and back then, you know, to us it was just common sense. But it turns out it was quite a statement."
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years debuted in cinemas last week (end18Sep16).
© WENN Newsdesk 2016