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Students Visit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum

Civics and Economics classes stand in front of original Woolworth's building in Greensboro

On September 28, Brian Pitoniak’s Civics and Economics classes visited the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, located in Greensboro, North Carolina. The museum building is the former location of the original F. W. Woolworth's store, site of the famous 1960 sit-in. The museum celebrates the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins that served as a catalyst in the civil rights movement.

It was here, at this lunch counter, that four 17-year-old freshmen at the all-black Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina arrived on Feb. 1, 1960, sat down, and ordered some food. When they were refused because they were black, the four students continued to sit in mute protest. They returned the next day and the next. Within a week 1,000 protesters and counter protesters packed the store. By the end of March “sit-ins” had spread to 55 cities in 13 states. By mid-April the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had been established to expand student involvement. And by the end of July, when the Greensboro Woolworth’s counter was finally desegregated, this form of nonviolent protest had become one of the central strategies of the American civil rights movement.

This experience provided an opportunity for students to become more aware of events that transpired during the civil rights movement. Joseph Berman, a sophomore, recalls, “I had a memorable experience at this museum. There were a lot of things I did not know about segregation and the Civil Rights Movement. There were a lot of pictures and artifacts that showed how African Americans were treated during this time period. I thought the tour was very informational.” The museum's aim is to memorialize the actions of four students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), those who joined them in the daily Woolworth's sit-ins, and others around the country who took part in sit-ins and the civil rights movement. The museum opened February 1, 2010, on the 50th anniversary of the original sit-in.

Written by: Carrie Mabry
Posted: Nov 16, 2011 by Carrie Mabry

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