51 years ago today, four student activists from NC A&T State University seated themselves at the then-segregated lunch counter of a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, NC. As African-Americans seated at a “Whites Only” counter, they were refused service. Undeterred, these non-violent protesters returned the next day and the next, each time bringing an increasing number of supporters.
By the end of the week, their numbers reached the thousand mark and other local lunch counters found themselves similarly targeted as word of the protest spread. By a month’s time, the sit-in movement had spread to neighboring states, despite the abuse and threats of violence suffered by protesters. Woolworth’s was desegregated in August of that year and the International Civil Rights Museum estimates that by then, “more than 70,000 people had participated in sit-ins”, which in turn inspired a host of related protests at other segregated public spaces like churches and libraries.
Interested in learning more about this and other other milestones of U.S. Civil Rights history? Not sure how to get started? Don’t forget the Stone Center Library’s Guide to the Web! Here you can find online resources for a variety of topics, such as Civil Rights history. Happy reading!