50 Years: The International Civil Rights Center & Museum

On February 1, 1960, four students from the historically black Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina (now the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University) sat down in the “whites only” section of a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. They were refused service, but stayed. The next day, there were around 25 protesters. Soon, over 300 protesters filled the store, and sit-ins had spread throughout North Carolina and the rest of the South, creating one of the most important moments in the quest for civil rights.

Fifty years later, the International Civil Rights Center & Museum is set to hold its grand opening on the site of the Woolworth’s store from 1960. Festivities are planned throughout the weekend: tomorrow’s gala at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center is already sold out, but a free Celebration of Unity Service at the Greensboro Coliseum is still open for Sunday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Perhaps the most exciting upcoming event is the Monday morning ribbon cutting on the new downtown facilities.

The 1960 events in Greensboro are crucial to America’s history. With the addition of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, there will finally be a space devoted to the progress made there. UNC Press is excited to see another great museum join our community.

If you can’t make it to Greensboro on Monday morning, don’t worry: North Carolina Public Radio WUNC’s The State of Things will be broadcasting live on site. Later in the week, we should have more coverage here on the UNC Press Blog of this historic moment.