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Civil rights movement, United States, 1960–1965

Sven Dubie


In the winter of 1960 four African American students at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro decided they had had enough. They had grown impatient with the lack of progress in dismantling the edifice of segregation since the Supreme Court's Brown decision nearly six years earlier. After much deliberation, they felt the time had come to take matters into their own hands to try and hasten progress. After a night of informal planning, the four men – Ezell Blair, Jr., Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeill, and David Richmond – decided that the next day, February 1, they were going to go to the local Woolworth's store, make a few purchases, and then demand service at the whites-only lunch counter. If they were refused, as was to be expected according to the South's Jim Crow custom , they would remain seated until they eventually received service. Events at the Woolworth's counter unfolded largely as the four young men had anticipated and soon a crowd gathered, with some offering words of encouragement and others condemnation. They remained on their stools until the store closed and promised to resume their protest the next day. Word of this first “sit-in” spread quickly across the college campus and throughout Greensboro. The next day, Blair, McCain, McNeill, and Richmond were joined by nearly thirty other students. By the end of the week, the numbers of protesters ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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