Posted by: Ed Darrell | February 1, 2010

Sometimes you have to sit down for your rights, too

Four young men turned a page of history on February 1, 1960, at a lunch counter in a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond, sat down at the counter to order lunch.  Because they were African Americans, they were refused service.  Patiently, they stayed in their seats, awaiting justice.

On July 25, nearly six months later, Woolworth’s agreed to desegregate the lunch counter.

Greensboro Four, leaving Woolworth's the first day, Greensboro Record/Smithsonian Image

From the Smithsonian Institution: “Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond leave the Woolworth store after the first sit-in on February 1, 1960. (Courtesy of Greensboro News and Record)”

News of the “sit-in” demonstration spread.  Others joined in the non-violent protests from time to time, 28 students the second day, 300 the third day, and some days up to 1,000.   The protests spread geographically, too, to 15 cities in 9 states.

Greensboro Sit-in, Day 2 -- Greensboro News & Record/Smithsonian

Smithsonian Institution: “On the second day of the Greensboro sit-in, Joseph A. McNeil and Franklin E. McCain are joined by William Smith and Clarence Henderson at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Courtesy of Greensboro News and Record)” Part of the old lunch counter was salvaged, and today is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. The museum display was the site of celebratory parties during the week of the inauguration as president of Barack Obama."

Part of the old lunch counter was salvaged, and today is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History.  The museum display was the site of celebratory parties during the week of the inauguration as president of Barack Obama.

Woolworth's lunch counter from Greensboro, now at the Smithsonian Museum of American History

Part of the lunchcounter from the Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina, is now displayed at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C.

Notes and resources:

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Responses

  1. […] encore material, from earlier at this blog, and with permission from Millard Fillmore’s […]


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