Regrann from @africanarchives
- it was feb. 1, 1960, when four black students sat down at woolworth’s lunch counter in greensboro, n.c., and ordered coffee. the white patrons eyed them warily, and the white waitresses ignored their polite requests for service. the four young men, freshmen at north carolina agricultural and technical college, remained seated until closing time, and returned with 300 more students a few days later, determined to integrate the whites-only five-and-dime. this form of grassroots activism, known as a “sit-in,” spread to cities in nearly every southern state over the next several weeks. woolworth’s desegregated in july of 1960, with other stores and restaurants following suit. the lunch-counter sit-ins spawned wade-ins at pools and beaches, kneel-ins at churches, read-ins at libraries, and walk-ins at theaters and amusement parks. those who participated in these direct actions had to maintain stoic composure in the midst of white harassment, both verbal and physical. many were careful to adhere to white standards of “respectable” grooming, dress, and manners, even as they disrupted deep-rooted racial etiquette. in some cities, stubborn officials simply shut down public parks and pools rather than integrating them, but the strategy worked in many others.
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