Food for Thought: Greensboro Sit-ins

The fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 happens this week. Signed July 2, 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the act outlawed ingrained forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, as well as women. It also ended strict and biased voter registration requirements and public segregation in schools, at the workplace, and general public facilities like pools and libraries. This series will explore this landmark act and the events leading up to it in photographs taken throughout the South during this turbulent time.

A Woolworth lunch counter on February 1, 1960 in Greensboro, NC was the site of nonviolent protest by four young men from North Carolina A&T State University. Six days later, more than 1,000 other students had joined them in the sit-in. Their protest inspired similar sit-ins inĀ Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and even F.W. Woolworth stores in New York City. While not the first sit-in, it remains a crucial moment in civil rights history. In 1993, part of the lunch counter was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution, and the original Woolworth in Greensboro is now The International Civil Rights Center & Museum.

Joseph McNeil (from left), Franklin McCain, Billy Smith and Clarence Henderson
Joseph McNeil (from left), Franklin McCain, Billy Smith and Clarence Henderson
More students gathered day by day.
More students gathered day by day.
Downtown protests
Downtown protests