From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Blewitt, Kenneth G., Jr.

(born: 1910  -  died: 1986) 

Kenneth G. Blewitt, Jr. was thought to be the first African American in the U.S. to manage a major movie theater and live entertainment house. Beginning in 1939, he was general manager of the Regal Theatre in Chicago; it was said he provided the best entertainment in the city. Blewitt had started as an usher at the Regal in 1929 and advanced to become a manager for Balaban & Katz, which later became the ABC Great States, Inc., owner of the Regal Theatre.

Kenneth G. Blewitt was also named manger of the Roosevelt Theatre in 1968. During World War II, Blewitt agreed to show the all-Negro newsreels at the the Regal as long as the reels were not derogatory to the Negro race. In 1942, he was named head of the Negro division of the USO shows. [USO, the United Services Organization, organizes live entertainment for U.S. Armed Service members and their families.]

Kenneth G. Blewitt, Jr. was born in Bowling Green, KY and moved to Chicago in 1926. He was the son of Kenneth, Sr. and Maggie Blewitt [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census] and the husband of Lucille Edmondson Blewett [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. He was born October 14, 1910 and died in July 1986 [source: U.S. Social Security Index].

For more see the "Kenneth G. Blewitt" entry in the Chicago Negro Almanac and Reference Book, edited by E. R. Rather; "The all-Negro news reel...," Plaindealer, 11/6/1942, p. 3; and "USO head," Jet, 8/14/1952, p. 11 [available online at Google Books].

*The last name is also spelled "Blewett" and "Bluett" in the U.S. Census and other sources.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Warren County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Bowling Green, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Chicago Negro almanac and reference book
NKAA Source: Plaindealer, The (newspaper) (Topeka)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Blewitt, Kenneth G., Jr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 19, 2024, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/index.php/items/show/2455.

Last modified: 2023-02-08 16:12:39