Charles Henry Douglass saw the need for a place African Americans could gather to enjoy entertainment and support their own. In 1904, he opened up the Ocumulgee Park Theater.
Douglass was born in Macon, Georgia to father Charles, who was a former slave and mother Ellen Douglass. He attended the public schools in the afternoon and by the age of fourteen had moved to work in the city as a buggy boy.
After his father died, he took on the head of the household position, helping to provide for the family and pay to send his siblings to school. In 1902, he married and eventually had six children with wife, Fannie Appling.
By 1940, he had turned his attention to providing entertainment for the black community. After opening the Ocumulgee Park Theater and running it for two years, he sold the property and purchased a lot on Broadway and erected the Colonial Hotel. While operating the hotel, he started a theatrical company which consisted of about forty people. The group traveled to at least 14 states performing in different cities.
Douglass eventually sold out his interest in the Theatrical Company, he added the proceeds to other funds and erected the “Douglass Theatre.” He managed the theater on his own with some help from the black community until 1940 when he died. However, the theater was leased to Benjamin Stein, a white businessman for the short period between 1927 and 1929.
The National Cyclopedia of the Colored Race (vol. 1, 1919)