Breaking Tradition part 2

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100th Anniversary
With blue laws still in effect, the citizens of Wilmington petitioned Governor McMullen in 1939 to allow for theaters to show movies after 2:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons.

Breaking with Tradition


Blue Laws were originally introduced in America during the 17th century. Known also as Sabbath or Sunday Laws, Blue Laws prohibit any type of secular activities on Sunday. Courts in America traditionally supported these laws in helping state and local authorities to promote health, safety and morality. Although Blue Laws still exist to varying degrees in different regions of the United States, 20th century commercialism relegated many Blue Laws to history. In Dover during World War II, the movie theaters were opened after noon. However, five hundred people were arrested for violating Blue Laws on Sunday in May of 1941.

This document is found in the Governor’s Papers that contain records generated by the Governor’s Office. Included in this collection are correspondences, various reports, press releases, meeting minutes, invitations, governors’ messages, photographs and publications of the Governors since 1874. The papers from previous Governors are found in the Executive Papers.