1960 February 1

Sit-In Movement Begins — Civil Rights Struggle Enters Historic New Phase


A sit-in at a segregated lunch counter at Woolworth’s Department Store in Greensboro, North Carolina, on this day sparked similar sit-ins across the South and brought a new level of direct action to the civil rights movement. The four students from North Carolina A&T University were Ezell Blair, Jr.; Joseph McNeil; David Richmond; and Franklin McCain. Contrary to popular belief, this was not the first sit-in. The earlier sit-ins, however, did not spark a national movement, as this one did. The sit-ins on this day, in a broader sense launched a new and more militant phase of the Civil Rights Movement.

The earlier sit-ins occurred on April 17, 1943; May 8, 1943; January 20, 1955; July 19, 1958; and August 19, 1958. The original Woolworth’s building in Greensboro is now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

Visit International Civil Rights Center and Museum, Greensboro, NC: http://www.sitinmovement.org/

View early sit-ins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbbcjn4d1cE

Read: Dick Cluster, ed., They Should Have Served That Cup of Coffee (1979)

Learn more: Iwan W. Morgan and Philip Davies, From Sit-ins to SNCC: The Student Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s (2012)

Read an original 1960 listing of the first sit-ins, 2/1/60 – 3/31/60: http://www.crmvet.org/docs/6004_sitin-list.pdf

Learn About the Southern Civil Rights Movement – Photos and Documents: http://crmvet.org/

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