Sit-Ins Helped Shape Core of Civil Rights Movement

The program commemorates the start of Black History Month with a look back to the historic student sit-ins of the civil rights movement. The acts of defiance helped to integrate many local businesses before the Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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LYNN NEARY, host:

We want to recognize the start of Black History Month with an acknowledgement of a pivotal feat in the Civil Rights Movement.

On this date, 48 years ago, the historic student sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement began. Four black freshmen from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro - Ezell Blair Jr., Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richardson - sat down at the lunch counter of a Woolworth store and ordered coffee. This is Ezell Blair Jr., now known as Jibreel Khazan.

Mr. EZELL BLAIR JR. (Student, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College, Greensboro): But I was prepared, if I'm going to die, then I'm going to die here taking my stand for what I believe to be right and true. We were going to sit there until we were served or asked to leave or, hopefully, not beaten, but we were not going to move.

NEARY: Their act of peaceful defiance, though met with taunts and violence by some whites, triggered sit-ins throughout the South. In many places, the sit- ins succeeded in forcing local businesses to integrate before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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