Black Man Thrown Out Of Sports Bar; Social Media To The Rescue

Jonathon Wall, a 21-year-old who will be attending Harvard in the fall, was thrown out of a Raleigh, NC, sports bar last weekend for being black.

Here’s a summary of what happened, as recounted by Wall and published by North Carolina Central University Instructor Philip Christman on his blog:

As the story begins, on last Saturday night around 12:30am, I and 2 other friends went to Downtown Sports Bar and Grill off of Glennwood Avenue. The night got interesting as soon as we got to the door, and the bouncer told us “you need a membership to come in tonight, I’ve never seen you here before.” My friend Chris and I looked at each other in curiosity, knowing that the establishment was a bar and not a club, and that people in line before us walked right in after showing their ID. The only difference between those people and my friends and I was our race.

Still, we stood at the door in bewilderment asking “What?” as he further tried to explain that we weren’t going to be able to come in because of our “non-member” status. However, as he was explaining this, a police officer walked up to where he was standing to tell him something unrelated. As soon as he caught sight of the officer beside him, he said “Never mind, y’all go ahead.” This was the first interesting ordeal of the night, but not the last.

Once Wall finally made it inside, the barman ordered him to either buy a drink or leave. When Wall did not follow these directions immediately, the barman grabbed Wall’s right wrist and left arm, threw them behind his head, and pushed the young man outside.

Getting a police officer to talk to the barman was no help either.

They talked for about 3 minutes before she came back to me and said, “I knew this was going to happen. Now, I don’t believe him one bit, but he says that he has three people who witnessed you throw an elbow at him before he restrained you.” Shocked is an understatement.

At this point, I’m sure many of us would have given up, furious, but unable to see a way forward. Not so Jonathon Wall. Instead, he used his anger and frustration to sit down and pen a lengthy description of the incident, before emailing it to a local TV station and to his former instructor, Philip Christman, who posted Wall’s account on his blog. That post now has almost 200 comments, most of them sharing stories similar to Wall’s. The power of the written word!

Here’s one of them:

The same thing happened to me and my friends at Downtown Sports Bar! My two friends and I, all of us white, got in no problem. However my boyfriend and his friend, both black, were turned away for not having on collared shirts. After they were denied entry, we stood outside and witnessed 5 white males being let in that had on regular t-shirts just like my friends did!!! Absolutely disgusting, I truly hope the news will do an investigation.

From these comments on Christman’s blog has grown a Facebook group, started by 21-year-old Karimah Shepherd, who experienced the same racial discrimination as Wall at the Downtown Sports Bar and Grill. That group now has around 3000 members, proving that grassroots action really works.

Hooray for social media! Boo to the cops!


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Photo Credit: San Diego Shooter


Julia Grace
.1 years ago

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Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin4 years ago

A few years back, a group of Iranian "law students" made it their meal ticket to sue bars and clubs around Stockholm region for discrimination. The truth eventually came out that in most of those incidents, the reason they were denied entry was because one or more of them were intoxicated. It's the law that bars etc, can deny anyone entry on the basis of their drunkeness. It's a safety issue and bars don't want people fighting. Anyhow, they won most of their cases (often using a hidden camera and leaving out evidence that were against them) and collected more money (for each case) than most people make in a year. They were finally caught when a bar used THEIR CCTV to counteract their accusations. It clearly showed that one person of the group was really drunk and that the bouncer denied entry of only him for that reason. The rest of them were welcome, but not him. After they lost that case, they disappeared and I haven't read anything about them in years. They probably took the money and left the country.
I do not say that discrimination against people of color or foreigners doesn't exist. I'm merely pointing out that there are more than one side to all cases.
Around the time that those iranians where suing the pants of bars, the ambassadors of two Latin American countries were denied entry at a very famous bar in Stockholm. They were NOT drunk and the bouncer made it quite clear that he denied them entry because of their skin color. The ambassadors didn't sue, just contac

Kathy Lentz
Kathlene Lentz4 years ago

When blatant discrimination is ignored by the people in authority, it will continue. When it is brought out into the light by people such as these and made public, things will change. Perhaps not immediately, but they WILL change. I hope that someone does an undercover and catches these guys in the act.

Grace Jama-Adan
GIA D.4 years ago

I was born in the Research Triangle (RT) in the late 1950's, I am not surprised, and I am an alumnus of NCState, where as the lon female and minority in my graduate department, I held the highest GPA. For those who do not recall this. The late Senator Jesse Helms began as a well-known WRAL anchor who espoused every -ism before and after his media career. He went from Democrat to Dixiecrat to Republican. In the RT, there is also rampant classist and complexion bigotry among blacks and whites. Down te road, Wilmington on the coast was the center of Red Shirts activity a century ago to violently prevent blacks from voting, etc. An active KKK thrived all over NC, despite little records of lynchings in Central North Carolina over the years. Fast forward to the Joan Little acquittal for killing a white jailer that sexually attacked her while in custody. Shortly thereafter, a white woman was acuitted for killing a black newspaper delivery man after she accused him of littingher son. NC is not far from Tennessee where th KKK was founded. The late Senatir Robert Byrd was born in western NC and raised in West Virginia. He was an ex-Klansman. During my NCSU studies, I was not surprised to learn that the NC Genealogical Soxiety is predominately Texan. The fruit and its seeds soread near and far from North Carolina, which I never loved calling home. Other than having a solid, uniform public education system, it still reeks of-isms. Yes, bigotry is everywere. It is more memorable when and

Don H.
Don H.4 years ago

Mo said:

"Raliegh, NC is very racist city I visited ! It is time for Our Justice Eric Holder to file criminal complaint agaisnt Raliegh."

Mo, the Republicans launched a preemptive strike against Eric Holder in an effort to disarm him so that he can't respond to voter suppression and civil rights violations like these.

Joan Q.
Joan Q.4 years ago

Well, this is ugly stuff, but the battle can't be fought by Blacks alone. If some patrons are willing to lie and others are willing to turn their backs, what can be done, really?

Joan Q.
Joan Q.4 years ago

Well now, Tim R., you'd make a darned good N.C. cop, for sure!

Mo Va
Mo Va4 years ago

Raliegh, NC is very racist city I visited ! It is time for Our Justice Eric Holder to file criminal complaint agaisnt Raliegh.

Mo Va
Mo Va4 years ago

Raliegh, NC is very racist city I visited ! It is time for Our Justice Eric Holder to file criminal complaint agaisnt Raliegh.

Phil Konigsberg
Phil Konigsberg4 years ago

Mr. Wall should pursue this by making a formal complaint to Eric Holder, the US Attorney General and pursue federal discrimination charges against the bar and if there is sufficient evidence, against the city of Raleigh, NC