A version of this story was originally published in November 2017 and has since been updated. One night in the late 1950s, the Flamingos ' bus pulled up to a concert hall in Birmingham, Alabama, and a row of 30 to 50 police officers holding rifles and billy clubs was waiting for them. The cops escorted the six-member doo-wop group, famous for "I Only Have Eyes for You" and "The Ladder of Love," to its dressing room and gave strict instructions: As black performers, they were to make eye contact with only the black fans, who were confined to the balcony, and not with whites on the floor. "It was ridiculous," recalls Terry Johnson , a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame–inducted group. "The cops were up there making sure we did not look at any white person. It was a rule when we came in: 'I don't want to see any of you darkies looking at the white women out there. If you do, your ass is mine.' Cruel things like that." Related The 50s: A Decade of Music That Changed the World Charles Neville: Remembering the Neville Brothers’ Saxophone-Playing Mystic Related Chasteness, Soda Pop, and… Read full this story
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