The Greensboro Sit-ins Facts

The Greensboro Sit-ins Facts
In the era before Walmart, many "five and dime" stores in America had lunch counters that served basic deli and cafeteria style food. Throughout the southern states, these lunch counters were either racially segregated or simply did not serve black customers. After the 1954 landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling by the United States Supreme Court that put an end to legal segregation in public schools, civil rights activists began testing the legal waters of other forms of segregations, the segregated lunch counters of the south being one of their primary targets. In early 1960, four students - Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Junior, and David Richmond - from the historically black university North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University decided to challenge Woolworth's segregated lunch counter policy in Greensboro, North Carolina by launching a "sit-in" at the counter on February 1, 1960. The number of protesters at the sit-in increased everyday and similar sit-ins began taking place around the south. During the summer of that year the Greensboro Woolworth changed its policy and by 1965 all other stores in the south had followed suit.
Interesting The Greensboro Sit-ins Facts:
There had been previous sit-ins to challenge segregated businesses going back as far as 1939, but most were in the north and never gained as much traction as the Greensboro Sit-ins.
McNeil, McCain, Blair, and Richmond became known as the "Greensboro Four."
Among the Greensboro Four, Blair had the most difficult time adjusting to the notoriety. He later converted to Islam, changed his name to Jibreel Khazan, and moved to the north.
The Greensboro Four entered the Woolworth after four pm that day, bought some items, and then attempted to order coffee at the "whites only" counter.
After being refused service, the four men sat at the counter until closing time.
On February 2 about twenty other black college students joined the Greensboro Four in the sit-in.
By the end of the first week, hundreds showed up to sit-in and similar sit-ins were happening at Woolworths and other, similar department stores around the south.
The sit-in protesters were largely nonviolent, ignoring threats and insults hurled at them, but there were some fights that broke out between them and angry white counter protesters in some locations.
It is estimated that the Greensboro Woolworth lost $200,000 by the time the store's manager relented and changed its segregation policy on July 25, 1960.
Although the first few days of the sit-ins received considerable national media attention, the ending of the policy was barely covered.
Due to favorable media coverage and the fact that the sit-in protesters remained nonviolent for the most part, the sit-ins were generally viewed sympathetically across the country.
In some locations in the deep south, such as Mississippi and Alabama, sit-in protesters were beaten by angry whites.
After the sit-ins, North Carolina A&T became a center of black student activism and civil rights activity.
Historians consider the sit-ins to be one of the primary factors for the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
The site of the original sit-ins is now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

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