“We are the advance guard of a massive moral revolution for jobs and freedom.”-A. Philip Randolph


A section of lunch counter from the Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth's. Photo Courtesy of Mark Pellegrini.

“In 1960, four students of North Carolina A&T University staged a sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter. Despite fears of arrest, beatings, or worse, the four spent the day at the counter, quietly and politely. The next day, they came back, with more protesters. Soon, they inspired sit-in movements throughout the South,” wrote Dave Aretha in Sit-Ins and Freedom Rides, part of Morgan Reynolds’s Civil Rights Movement series.

Black history month begins tomorrow. During the month of February, we honor all of those individuals who fought for freedom during the civil rights movement, including the four A&T students who took a stand, or rather a seat, at a whites-only lunch counter.

Aretha wrote, “Dressed in their finest clothes, the four young men entered Woolworth’s, a downtown five-and-dime store in Greensboro, North Carolina. African Americans were allowed to purchase items at the store, but they were not allowed to sit at the lunch counter.”

That Woolworth’s has since been memorialized as part of the International Civil Rights Museum, located just a few blocks from Morgan Reynolds.

Calvin Craig Miller wrote in No Easy Answers: The Story of Bayard Rustin that nonviolent resistance was a popular form of protest during the civil rights movement.  Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, according to Miller, “believed that [nonviolent resistance] could also provide a model for achieving racial equality.”  Many involved in the movement agreed.

And so the Greensboro Four used nonviolent resistance to protest their lack of freedom to eat at a lunch counter.

Aretha wrote, “It was the nonviolent aspect of their protest that led to the extraordinary success of the sit-in movement…. The citizens of Greensboro proudly honor the accomplishments of these four men.”

Today, a statue honoring the Four stands in front of Dudley Building on A&T’s campus in Greensboro.

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

Learn more about the civil rights movement by checking out our Civil Rights Movement series (ISBN 9781599350738) and our Civil Rights Leaders series (ISBN 9781931798990).

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Published in: on January 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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