Sit-ins: Greensboro, N.C.
On February 1, 1960 four North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College students entered the F. W. Woolworth Co. department store in Greensboro, North Carolina and staged a sit-in at the store's segregated lunch counter. Upon taking their seats at the "whites-only" lunch counter, Ezell A. Blair, Jr., Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond attempted to order coffee, but were denied service and asked to leave by the store's manager. The four men politely refused the manager's request and remained seated at the counter until it closed. The following day nearly thirty students, both male and female, joined the effort and returned to the Woolworth's lunch counter to participate in another sit-in. By February 5, the number of active participants in the Greensboro sit-in movement swelled to more than three hundred. Although Blair, McCain, McNeil, and Richmond were not the first organized group to employ the tactic of a sit-in, their efforts proved to be a watershed event in the Civil Rights movement. Inspired and motivated by the success of the Greensboro sit-ins, students and activists across the country began organizing efforts to launch sit-ins in their communities. The collective result of their actions was profound; by the end of February, over thirty cities and towns in seven states were successfully engaged in the sit-in campaigns.
Archival Collections and Reference Resources
- WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection (Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection)