Sit-ins and Freedom Riders

In 1960 four black students in North Carolina walked into a store and sat down on stools along the counter to order lunch. They were refused lunch, but they didn’t leave their seats.

Greensboro Four, Feb 1960.jpg

The next day 29 students joined them and by the end of the week 300 were part of the protest.

Others joined in the “lunch counter protest” in more than fifty other cities across the South. Students also protested against other segregated areas such as movie theaters and pools.

Student protesters were attacked, yelled at, had ketchup and such emptied on them, but most were prepared to not fight back and kept their protests peaceful.

Another form of protest was met with more violent attacks.

The following year, in 1961, The Supreme Court said that all buses and trains that crossed state lines had to be desegregated. That means that blacks were able to join whites on the bus and train and didn’t have to sit separately.

The Freedom Riders boarded buses in the South that required blacks to sit separately from whites and where the bus waiting rooms had “Colored Only” signs to keep blacks separate from whites. The Freedom Riders were both black and white. They sat together on the bus, had sit-ins in the “wrong” waiting rooms, etc. They were arrested and were attacked by violent mobs who beat them.

An attack on Freedom Riders