Friday, February 01, 2008

February 1st: Anniversary of Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth's Sit-In

I'm under other deadlines so I'll just list some information on this historically germinal protest from other sites. An important milestone and undertaking in 1960 by some courageous young male first year students from the Historically Black University (HBCU), North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University which inspired similar non-violent protests throughout the South:

From "The Greensboro Sit-ins" at the Greensboro Historical Museum
"This student protest began on February 1, 1960, when four NC A&T freshmen shown in the mural photograph sat down at the downtown Woolworth lunch counter and tried to order something to eat and drink. They were told that people of their race had to stand up at another counter to eat. The young men stayed until the store closed, and students returned to sit-in the next day. This peaceful protest continued for nearly six months. Similar protests sprang up across the South. In July 1960, three local stores changed their policies to allow integrated counters that served people regardless of race or color. The successful protest did change local custom, but legal change, both locally and nationally, came with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The four original protesters were Jibreel Khazan (formerly Ezell Blair, Jr.), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond." (pictured above right; below left the original lunch counter now on permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian; below right, the commemorative statue of the Greensboro Four, and February One)

Endnote I:
• For more information, photographs, and a multi-media timeline check out: Greensboro Sit-Ins: Launch of a Civil Rights Movement
• The website for the documentary February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four
• For images of the Greensboro Four and subsequent protests in Nashville, TN; Orangeburg, SC; Farmville, VA; Jackson, MS; and Harlem, NY; see Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement - Images of a People's Movement
• For a narrative of the sit-ins of 1960s and biographies of the Greensboro Four see Lunch at Woolworths;
• Finally, a Greensboro Sit-in wikipedia page that needs some cleaning up, but nonetheless has some good links.

Endnote II:
(Pictured above right) The surviving members of Greensboro Four at a 2003 North Carolina A&T event honoring their contribution to the Civil Rights struggle with a statue commemorating their 1960 protest. David Richmond died of lung cancer in 1990; l-r: Jibreel Khazan, Joseph McNeil, and Franklin McCain. David Richmond, Jr. stood for his father at the event where the gentlemen were presented with photos of the statue. (photos: Sharonda Eggleton)

Endnote III:
North Carolina A&T is now North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University a part of the NC state university system (but is still referred to by it's former name) and still a part of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

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