The The Sit-Ins — Off Campus and Into Movement

Greensboro, NC. February 1st, 1960

[© Greensboro News photo]

I'm going to sit at the welcome table...

[photographer unknown] February 1st, 1960, Greensboro NC. Four students from North Carolina A&T sit down at a "whites-only" Woolworth's lunch counter and ask to be served. This action by David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, and Joseph McNeil ignites a wave of student sit-ins and protests that flash like fire across the South. A fire for justice that no amount of beatings, jails, or firehoses, can extinguish. Within days sit-ins are occurring in dozens of Southern towns, and in the North supporting picket-lines spring up at Woolworth and Kress stores from New York to San Francisco.

[© News & Record photo]


Protests continue outside the segregated Mayfair Cafeteria, Greensboro, 1960.

[UPI photo]


In Harlem and many other northern communities, Movement supporters picket Woolworths and other chain stores to support the southern sit-ins.


Nashville, February, 1960.

[© Gerald Holly, Nashville Tennessean]

Just days after the Greensboro sit-in, students from American Baptist Theologic Seminary, Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, and Tennessee A&I begin confronting segregation in Nashville TN. They politely sit at "whites-only" lunch counters and restaurants. They are met with violence, brutality, and arrest. Hundreds are jailed, and thousands march in protests that continue for years.

Nashville Student Movement leader Diane Nash.

[Photographer unknown]

Before action comes training.
Rev. John Lawson (foreground) leads workshop in Nonviolent Resistance.


[© Jimmy Ellis, Nashville Tennessean]

Rather than serve people of color, this Walgreen's lunch-counter closes "in the interests of public safety." Other cafes and lunch- counters call the cops to arrest Blacks for the crime of ordering a cup of coffee in defiance of the segregation laws.

[Nashville Banner Archives]

[© Jimmy Ellis, Nashville Tennesean]


John Lewis, O.D. Hunt, and Dennis Gregory Foote, after their arrest at a downtown lunch counter.
[© Nashville Tennessean]



Students busted for protesting segregation fill the Nashville jail to overflowing.

[© Jimmy Ellis, Nashville Tennesean]




Fisk University student Jean Wynona Fleming behind bars in the Nashville jail.

[© Jack Corn, Nashville Tennessean]


Gasping for breath, James Bevel and John Lewis are trapped inside a Nashville restaurant filled with insecticide gas when the manager turns on a fumigating machine to disrupt a sit-in.

[Photographer unknown]



Dr. King addresses a mass meeting of 4,000 people after the bombing of attorney Alexander Looby's home. The next day they march.

[Photographer unknown]



C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, and Bernard LaFayette lead protest march in Nashville, 1960.

[© Jack Corn?, Nashville Tennessean]

C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, and sit-in leaders confront the Mayor on the Courthouse steps.

[© Gerald Holly, Nashville Tennessean]




Slowly, — too slowly, — victories are won at great cost. Matthew Walker, Peggy Alexander, Diane Nash and Stanley Hemphill eat lunch at the previously segregated counter of the Post House Restaurant in the Greyhound bus terminal. This is the first time since the start of the sit-ins that Blacks are served at previously all-white counters in Nashville.


Tallahassee, FL. 1960

[Photographer unknown]

[Photographer unknown]


Tallahassee. Pickets retrieving signs ripped from their hands by hostile whites.


Baltimore, MD. 1960

[Photographer Unknown]


Baltimore, MD. Morgan State students arrested for protests at the segregated Northwood Theater.


Virginia, 1960

[© Richmond Times-Dispatch]


Peoples Drug store, Arlington, VA. 1960. They closed the lunch counter rather than serve Black students.

[Photographer unknown] [Photographer unknown]  

[© Richmond Times-Dispatch]

[© Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Richmond, VA. 1960.

Orangeburg, SC. March, 1960

[© Cecil J. Williams]

Kress 5&10 store removes stools to prevent students from integrating the lunch counter with a sit-in, 1960. Orangeburg, SC.

  [© Cecil J. Williams]

[© Cecil J. Williams]



More than 1,000 students march in support of anti-segregation, sit-ins at downtown lunch counters.

[© Cecil J. Williams]

[© Cecil J. Williams]


Police attack the marchers with tear gas and fire hoses, and force them into the "stockade."


[© Cecil J. Williams]



1960 - 1963
Sit-ins, swim-ins, read-ins, pray-ins, marches, and other protests erupt across the South at segregated restaurants, swimming pools, libraries, churches...

[photographer unknown]


Sit-in at Woolworths in Jacksonville, FL. 1960.

[AP Photo]


Janice Jackson, Evelyn Pierce, and Ethel Sawyer of the Tougaloo Nine, under arrest for the crime of reading in a "white only" libraray. Jackson, MS, 1961.

Woolworth sit-in, Jackson, MS. May 28, 1963

"This was the most violently attacked sit-in during the 1960s and is the most publicized. A huge mob gathered, with open police support while the three of us sat there for three hours. I was attacked with fists, brass knuckles and the broken portions of glass sugar containers, and was burned with cigarettes. I'm covered with blood and we were all covered by salt, sugar, mustard, and various other things.

Seated, left to right, are myself, Joan Trumpauer (now Mulholland), and Anne Moody (Coming of Age in Mississippi).

Other sit-ins — some in a split-off section and some briefly with our heavily targeted part — were Memphis Norman (himself brutally struck and kicked unconscious), Pearlena Lewis, Lois Chaffee, James Beard, George Raymond, and Walter Williams. )

The response by Jackson's Black community to the sit-in and its violence was tremendously positive. The mass meeting that night was the biggest yet — despite the hordes of hostile city and state police and sheriffs' forces surrounding the church: close to a thousand people attended. Our initial picket demonstration on Capitol Street on December 12, 1962, had launched the Jackson Boycott Movement, — and our Woolworth Sit-In now transposed the Boycott Movement into the massive Jackson Movement."

John Salter (Hunter Bear).

(Movement activist Rev. Ed King standing behind sit-ins in 2nd photo.)

[© Fred Blackwell]


[© Fred Blackwell]
[UPI photograph]


NAACP leaders Roy Wilkins and Medgar Evers being arrested by Deputy Chief J.L. Ray for attempting to picket outside the Jackson Woolworth store three days after the sit-in.


Sitting-In, Boycotting, and Picketing for Freedom
Farmville Virginia (Prince Edward County), 1963
Photos courtesy of Vigrinia Commonwealth Univ. Library)

[Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Library photo]


Rev. Goodwin Douglas leads pickets outside county courthouse.

[Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Library photo]


Enforcing the boycott.

[Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Library photo]
[Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Library photo]
[Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Library photo]
[© Richmong Times-Dispatch]


Sit-ins being dragged away from the segregated College Shoppe Restaurant. [Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Library photo]
Protesting segregation in the streets of Farmville. [Queens College collection photo]




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