By: Te’Asia Calhoun

The Greensboro Sit-in was a civil rights protest that took place when four young African-Americans staged a sit-in at Woolworth’s segregated lunch counters in Greensboro, North Carolina. The young men refused to leave the counter, even after being denied service. The sit-in permeated to other college towns throughout the South. Many students were arrested for trespassing, disorderly conduct, or disturbing the peace, but the arrests didn’t deter their motivation, as they kept fighting for the rights that were rightfully theirs.


On February 1, 1960, the Greensboro Four sat down on the stools at Woolworth’s lunch counter and didn’t move when they were denied service. They stayed at the counter until the store closed, the next day they came with more students. The Four were Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain, and Joseph McNeil, all of whom attended NC A&T. They were heavily inspired by Mohandas Gandhi and Emmett Till.  

By February 5th, more than 300 students of all races had joined the protest at Woolworth’s. There was heavy television coverage of the protest at beaches, libraries, and other segregated establishments as well. The sit-ins were very successful, as they led to many dining facilities being desegregated by the summer of 1960. But the desegregation did not come easily as the protestors had food, spit, and slurs thrown at and on them, just to exemplify some of the resistance they encountered.


The Greensboro Sit-ins brought the fight for Civil Rights to the national stage. Sitting in was something everybody could do anywhere, as it showed resistance didn’t have to be violent. The sit-ins led to the desegregation of many facilities. The SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) was also founded in part due to this movement in Raleigh, North Carolina (April, 1960). SNCC played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement, as they helped to organize Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, and other major events to promote and encourage change.

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