The Harlem Theater served Austin’s Black community from 1935 to 1973, when it burned down. Its first owners, George and Sadie Jones, were part of a rarefied group of only seven Black theater owners in the nation at the time. Located in East Austin at the corner of East 12th and Salina Streets, the Harlem Theater was known as a welcoming place and a community gathering spot, as well as a movie theater.
The Harlem Lights Award, established in 2015, evokes the Harlem Theater in its heyday, along with the actors, the Austin Black community and the shared history that made the Harlem so beloved. The first recipient of the award was Austin’s own, actor Julius Tennon, who, along with his wife Viola Davis, leads JuVee Film Productions in Los Angeles.
For 2018, the Cap City BFF honors Austin-born and raised major league baseball player, coach and manager Don Baylor.
In keeping with the festival’s nod to the influence and impact of sports on film and in civic life — from Jesse Owens to Muhammad Ali to Colin Kaepernick — Cap City BFF is honored to recognize baseball’s All-Star, MVP and consummate sportsman.
The Harlem Lights Award will be presented during the Opening Night Ceremony on Thursday, August 31.