Monday, February 1, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1846


Greensboro, North Carolina (JFK+50) Fifty-six years ago this afternoon, February 1, 1960, four freshman from North Carolina A&T College staged the first sit-in of the modern civil rights movement at F.W. Woolworth Company here in Greensboro.

The young men, inspired by the non-violent approach to civil rights advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., became known as the "Greensboro Four."  They were Ezell Blair, Jr., Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeal, and David Richmond.

At 4:30 p.m. local time, the college students sat down at the Woolworth's lunch counter located at 132 South Elm Street.   They were well aware that the company policy was to refuse service to anyone but whites.  As expected, they were not served, but remained in their seats until closing time.

The following day, the men returned with twenty more students from local black colleges.  By February 5th, 300 students had joined the sit-in and television coverage brought the event into area homes and businesses.

The sit-in movement spread quickly to 55 cities in 13 states and by the end of July 1960, Woolworth's in Greensboro "quietly integrated its lunch counter," as did other dining facilities across the south.

Civil rights leader James Farmer said of the Greensboro Four...

"With their very bodies they obstructed the wheels of injustice."


"Greensboro Sit-ins: Launch of a Civil Rights Movement,"

International Civil Rights Center and Museum,

"The Greensboro Sit-In,"

Former F.W. Woolworth Co. Store
Greensboro, North Carolina (2008)
Photo by dbKing from Washington, D.C.

A Section of the Lunch Counter
International Civil Rights Center & Museum
Greensboro, N.C. (2010)
Photo by RadioFan (talk)