Civil Rights Movement Photographs
The Sit-Ins — Off Campus and Into Movement

"If you don't like the history they're teaching you in school
 — go out and make some of your own.


Greensboro, NC. February 1st, 1960

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

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.


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



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

Goron Carey of CORE picketing a New York
Howard Johnson's in support of southern sit-ins.


Training in Nonviolent Tactics

Before sitting-in, protesters practiced nonviolent tactics and trained themselves to endure abuse and assault.


Nonviolent sit-in training, possibly by SNCC-affiliate Atlanta Student Movement (ASM) — 1960 (or 1961). Participants unidentified.


Nashville, February, 1960.


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 and Nashville Christian Leadership Conference head Rev. Kelly Miller Smith.

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


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.


John Lewis, O.D. Hunt, and Dennis Gregory Foote, after their arrest at a downtown lunch counter.


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


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


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.


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


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

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


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.

Guy Carawan leads singing at mass meeting, Fisk University, April, 1960.


John Lewis of SNCC leads Nashville Christian Leadership Conference (NCLC) freedom marchers in 1963.


Sit-ins, pickets, & marches protesting segregated facilities not covered by the 1960 agreement continue until passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.



Tallahassee, FL. 1960


Pickets retrieving signs ripped from their hands by hostile whites.


Baltimore, MD. 1960


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


Virginia, 1960





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





Richmond, VA


Mrs. Ruth Tinsely, NAACP, under arrest.



Orangeburg, SC. March, 1960



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



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


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


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...


Rodney Hurst (seated center) leads a sit-in at Woolworths in Jacksonville, FL. on "Ax-Handle Saturday" August 27, 1960.


The Ku Klux Klan mobilizes a gang of white men armed with ax-handles to attack the Jacksonville sit-ins and African-American bystanders.



The Tougaloo Nine, are arrested in Jackson, MS, for the crime of reading in a "white only" public library that their taxes helped pay for. 1961.


Janice Jackson, Evelyn Pierce, and Ethel Sawyer under arrest.

The Tougaloo Nine


North Carolina, 1960 and 1962



Rev. Douglas Moore, Dr. King, and Rev. Ralph Abernathy in Durham during the sit-ins of 1960. See Durham Sit-ins & Protests for background.



Roy Wilkens of the NAACP and Floyd McKissckk & James Farmer of CORE leading protests at the Howard Johnson's restaurant in Durham, NC. 1962. See Freedom Highways Campaign in Durham and Greesboro for background.


A lone picket protests segregation in Raleigh, NC. 1960.


Students from St. Augustine College sitting-in at a Raleigh lunch counter, 1960.


Cairo, IL. 1962


Demonstrators at an "all-white" swimming pool in Cairo, IL.


SNCC leader John Lewis joins protesters in Cairo, IL.


Northern Support for Southern Sit-Ins


Picket line in Harlem


SNCC Executive Committee in Atlanta with a station wagon donated by supporters in Chicago. From left to right: Clarence Glenn, John Lewis, Paul Brooks, Cordell Reagon, Ruby Doris Smith (Robinson), James Forman, Colia Liddell (Lafayette), Frank Holloway, Bernard Lafayette, Mary McCollum, Wilson Brown, John O' Neal, and Dorothy Miller (Zellner). Undated, possibly late 1962 or early 1963.



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