Greensboro Sit-In 1960

February 1, 1960 four African American students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College sat at a segregated lunch counter that was usually reserved for only whites in Greensboro, NC.
February 1, 1960 four African American students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College sat at a segregated lunch counter that was usually reserved for only whites in Greensboro, NC.

Date/Location

This historic sit-in occured in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1, 1960 which sparked the sit-in movement all over the south.

Overview


On February 1, 1960 four African American students by the names of Ezell A. Blair Jr., David Leinhail Richmond, Joseph Alfred McNeil, and Franklin Eugene McClain from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College sat at a segregated lunch counter where only whites were supposed to sit. The owner of Woolworth's store, Clarence Harris, was notified of the the situation by a waitress and decided to ignore the students in hope that they would eventually leave. Harris was nervous that violence would break out from this peaceful protest and had police officers stationed inside the store yet, did not have the students arrested. The next day the four students showed up to Woolworth's with twenty-three other men and 4 women to protest. The protest continued as everyday more and more new students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College as well as other prodominantly black colleges in the area came to protest. Within four days the number of students at the sit-in blew up from the oringal four to three-hundred students by February 5, 1960. On February 6th tensions mounted between blacks and whites. The football team showed up from the Agricultural and Technical College in hopes of using their size to threaten anyone who tried to stop the protest. As the white's reaction the protest became more violent, a bomb scare forced the protesters out of Woolworth's and Harris closed the store for over two weeks. Although the hoax ceased
the protest at Woolworth's, the four students had sparked a massive movement throughout the south as sit-ins became a hallmark of the civil rights movement.

Key Players:

Ezell A. Blair Jr.
David Leinhail Richmond
Joseph Alfred Mcneil
Franklin Eugene McClain
Clarence Harris
The Police
College Students
Whites who opposed protests and demonstrations

Long-Term Impact

Within a week the sit-ins that occured in Greensboro motivated students from all over North Carolina to launch their own sit-ins. Demonstrations quickley spread to towns surrounding Greensboro including Winston-Salem, Durham, Raleigh, and Charlotte. The movement rapidly spread to other southern cities including Richmond, Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee where students of the Nashville Student Movement were trained for a sit-in by civil rights activist, James Lawson. The vast majority of these protests were peaceful as they were planned to be yet, in some cases things got violent. An instance of violent protest was in Chattanooga, Tennessee when tensions between blacks and whites turned into a brawl. Although there were violent reactions to some sit-ins the demonstrations eventually led to positive results as the media and newspapers gave the movement a lot of attention. On March 16, 1960, President Eisenhower expressed his support for the students and other protesters who were fighting for their human and civil rights. Eisenhower expressed his cocern, saying that he was "deeply sympathetic with efforts of any group to enjoy the rights of equality that they are granted by the constitution." In many towns the sit-ins were successful in desegregating lunch counters and other public places. In May 1960 Nashville's students accomplished citywide desegregation and in July 26, 1960 the Woolworth Store was desegregated as it decided to serve blacks
and whites alike. This movement started with the desegregation of lunch counters and rapidly moved toward desegregating places from swimming pools to transportation which all eventually would lead to the civil rights act of 1964 which mandated the desgregation of public accomodations.


Greensboro newspaper gives publicity to the sit-ins
Greensboro newspaper gives publicity to the sit-ins




Sources:


1. http://www.sitins.com/story.shtml
2.http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Sit-in
3.
http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/6-legacy/freedom-struggle-2.html
4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDHBzB-eO1g&feature=related