The four African American men started a national movement with their peaceful protest at an event known as the Greensboro Sit-in
On February 1, 1960, a group of four black college freshmen attending North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State were tired of segregation that they faced, and decided to peacefully protest by sitting at an all white service counter at Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The four men were fascinated by the works of Mohandas Gandhi who advocated the effects of peaceful protest. The four men decided that a sit-in would be a great way to get their message on equality across. One of the men in the group had previously gone to a concert, where an African American had acted aggressively and in turn, got arrested and did not help the cause for Civil Rights at all. So, the four of them decided that they could not by any means retaliate in violence.
The plan for the four of them was simple; they would make sure to stop at a newspaper journalist’s before entering the Woolworth store. The journalist would come to make sure they could get their point across to the public eye. The four men would buy supplies at the store and make sure that they kept the receipt for evidence, and then, they would sit at the all-white counter politely asking to order.
The four African American’s carried out their plan, but were refused service and were asked to leave the store. They left, but word spread around quickly of their protest, and more protest came to follow. Students of the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State School came to the counters to protest the following day, and even women at a nearby college joined the protest as well. On the 5th of February, 1960, as many as 1,400 people came to the Woolworth store to protest peacefully. They met opposition, as white males came to harass the protesters by throwing eggs, yelling profanities, and spitting into the protesters face.
The Greensboro Sit-in sparked other sit-ins to occur in North Carolina and other states as well. By the end of the month, many stores either desegregated their white only counters or removed the counters all together to elude the protests. The four African American men started a trend by being brave in protesting, they were successful in their attempts and sparked a national movement. Many saw if these four men could get results on desegregation, why couldn’t they get full rights as the white man?
The sit-ins showed how an idea can spark a whole nation into the idea of Civil Rights, whether they believed it was right or wrong, the Civil Rights movement was happening, and excited or scared, the African Americans were determined to obtain their rights.
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/6-legacy/images/sit-in.jpg
Murray, J. (n.d.). Greensboro sit-in. Retrieved from http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/299/entry/