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The 1960 Greensboro Sit-ins, and the student movement that arose from it, was a study in hyper-democratic activism.  Thus, it is appropriate that the voices of those who initiated it be the foundation for telling this history. Striking a balance between celebration of rights achieved, and challenges still remaining, the coda for this exhibit was framed by John Hope Franklin, to “not end on a note of triumphalism.”

On February 1, 1960, four college students sat down at the whites-only section of a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. With this act, these young men launched the Sit-In Movement, which swept the South and galvanized the Civil Rights Movement. Fifty years later, the International Civil Rights Center and Museum was incorporated into this historic building. Working closely with the architects, EAI developed an interpretive plan that allows visitors to immerse themselves into this pivotal moment. On this journey they revisit difficult events—many unimaginable to contemporary youth—that illustrate why it took incredible courage to speak out against these injustices.

The four students who started the Greensboro sit-ins and ignited the student movement (while acknowledging 13 prior sit-ins around the country) are a case study in informed, hyper-democratic activism, a lesson for this country and the world.  JERRY EISTERHOLD

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Eisterhold Associates Inc.
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