Local News

Lunch Counter Sit-Ins Began 39 Years Ago

Posted January 31, 1999

— Today is the start of Black History Month and in Greensboro it is also the anniversary of a pivotal moment in the civil rights struggle.

Dozens of people gathered for a breakfast this morning to mark the first lunch counter sit-in, which was staged at the downtown Woolworth's in Greensboro.

It was 39 years ago when four black students from North Carolina A&T University sat down and demanded service. It had long been law or policy in the South for blacks and whites not to eat in the same restaurants.

Hundreds of others joined the sit-in, and shut down the busy lunch counter. The sit-ins started a movement that rolled across the South.

By the way, the historic downtown Greensboro Woolworth store closed its doors several years ago. A plaque had been affixed to the building's exterior wall, however, to mark the site.

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