The Greensboro Sit-Ins

Protesters on a sit in
After the Greensboro Sit-Ins, people were inspired to hold more sit-ins, including this one at the White House.

Have you ever seen a protest? If people disagree with something, they might decide to protest it. Sometimes they march. Sometimes they hold signs. Sometimes they stay away from it. In February 1960, a group of college students began a protest called a sit-in.

Segregation [separation of people based on race] had been illegal since 1954. Still, many southern businesses refused to serve African Americans. So, Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain, and Joseph McNeil began a protest.

The four sat down at a lunch counter where only white people were given food. They refused to give up their seats. They simply sat quietly and waited to be served. Police were called, but the four weren’t breaking the law. Newspapers and television covered the events. By the next week, there were 300 protestors taking part in the sit-in. By March, it had spread to 55 different cities. People were angry about the protestors. Some were violent towards them, but the students didn’t fight back. Within a few months, southern restaurants started changing their ways.

These four students protested peacefully. Their nonviolent approach inspired others in the civil rights movement. Every day, and especially during Black History Month, we honor achievements such as these.


What Do You Think?  What can you do to make your voice heard when it seems that no one is listening?

Photo Credit: LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton/White House Photo Office