Greensboro Four Forever

(Last Updated On: February 1, 2017)


by YES! Weekly staff

There is a statue over on the campus of NC A&T State University that rightly should be replicated, on a grander scale, in the most prominent spot in Greensboro.

Maybe that’s the intersection of Elm Street and February One Place. Maybe it’s out near Wendover and I-40.

Either way, the magnitude of what the Greensboro Four accomplished in 1960 is impossible to overstate. A documentary made in 2003 dramatizes the events for those of us too young to have lived through them. It should be required viewing in every school in the land.

It’s a testament to what they achieved, in a way, that so many today have no knowledge of the Sit In Movement. It’s what happens when you achieve something so good, so transformative, that in a couple of generations the young people can’t comprehend a time when it was vastly different.

That four young men decided that they would walk in to the Woolworth’s on Elm Street in Greensboro on Feb. 1, 1960 and simply ask to be served at the lunch counter did, in fact, change America. Similar protests spread within days across the state, and across the Deep South within a week. Though the department store owners held firm that winter and into the spring, by late summer they realized that arc of history was bending toward justice.

When you hear someone say that racism is dead and black folk should just get over it, remind them that only 57 years ago this month an African American could work in the kitchen at Woolworth’s, but they couldn’t take a sandwich and a cup of coffee at the lunch counter.

A lot of those people are still alive today, and even more of their descendants have heard the stories and seen the pain in their loved one’s eye as circumstances are described.

Those memories are valid and our common future would benefit if everyone were to acknowledge it. !

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