Fabric of Freedom Kickoff in Greensboro

FoF kickoff stools

Fabric of Freedom is a series of arts programs that celebrate the diversity and cultural history of Greensboro, host city for the National Folk Festival (2015-2017). Exhibits, music, dance, community events, and more will be presented in venues across the city throughout September.

This year’s Fabric of Freedom events kick off at the very place the sit-in movement began: the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, located in the former F.W. Woolworth building. On February 1, 1960, four young men—Ezell Blair, Jr. (Jibreel Khazan), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond, or “The Greensboro Four”—asked to be served lunch. When they were refused, they stayed put in a peaceful protest for equal rights. This act sparked sit-ins by Civil Rights activists across the country, from Chapel Hill to Nashville, and eventually led to the end of segregation with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

[Learn about other historic sit-ins with Counter Histories: Documenting the Struggle to Desegregate Southern Restaurants]

Honor this landmark moment in U.S. history with First Friday at the International Civil Rights Museum. For the first time since its opening in 2010, the museum is inviting visitors for free, self-led tours of its galleries (5-6:30 p.m.). Museum docents, many of them civil rights activists themselves, will be on hand to share their experiences and answer questions.

After exploring the galleries, head down the block to Greensboro’s Government Plaza for a throwback concert by two of North Carolina’s greatest original soul groups: The Mighty Eliminators and Odyssey 5. Three original members of each group are returning to the stage live and in-person for this special, one-time-only concert. Co-promoted with Carolina Soul Records.