In this WSB newsfilm clip from February 27, 1960, African American students conduct a sit-in at a lunch counter, and policemen arrest the protesters in Nashville, Tennessee.
The clip begins with police motorcycles parked along a sidewalk and a crowd walking in front of a building. Inside a store, a group of people seem to wait in line to sit at a lunch counter. White people try to pull the African American demonstrators out of their seats at the lunch counter and later try to prevent African American boys from hiding behind the counter for safety. Next, a police paddy wagon pulls up, and a policeman gets out of the vehicle. The African American demonstrators are led to the paddy wagon with policemen on the sidewalk blocking the view of people behind them. Back inside at the lunch counter, African Americans sit and later stand up, gather their belongings, and walk outside past white people lined up on the other side of the room.
After four African American students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University were arrested for conducting a sit-in at a F.W. Woolworth's store in Greensboro, North Carolina, sit-ins spread to other communities around the state and the country. In Nashville, Tennessee, African American students trained in nonviolence by James Lawson, a divinity student at Vanderbilt University, began holding sit-ins February 13, 1960. Previously, the Nashville Christian Leadership Council had conducted small sit-ins in two department stores the previous December. The first group of demonstrators was arrested February 27, 1960, after white teenagers responded violently to the sit-ins; the police were unexpectedly absent until they arrived to arrest eighty-one demonstrating students. On March 3, Nashville mayor Ben West announced the formation of a seven-man community relations committee, which had been urged by both white and African American community leaders. The committee recommended voluntary lunch counter integration on April 6, 1960, but the suggestion was rejected by the white and African American communities. Community leaders reached a compromise on May 10 when six downtown lunch counters desegregated.
Title supplied by cataloger.
The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for digital conversion and description of the WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection.
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Cite as: WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a African American students holding a lunch counter sit-in and policemen arresting the demonstrators in Nashville, Tennessee, 1960 February 27, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0893, 46:28/47:32, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.