Blog Assignment 2
December 11, 2015
Sitting In, To Stand Up
After researching and discussing historically findings I have decided to reflect on The Greensboro sit-ins. Which took place in North Carolina in 1960. There were four African American men who went by the names of: Ezell Blair Jr., who has now changed his name to Jibreel Khazan, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond. The photo I have chosen to center my topic around is a picture of the four men, who came to be known as the “Greensboro four. This specific photo was taken on February 1, 1960, and shows them sitting at the counter in the restaurant minding their own business, slowly making a change. Even after there were significant advances to end segregation, it was still one of the main issues that needed to be addressed in 1960. Starting as a peaceful protest by young African American students at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, This movement of peace sit-ins spread throughout nearby college towns. The actions of these protestors forced many businesses and establishments to change their policies in regards to segregation.
After reading an article on History.com on the Greensboro sit-ins and watching the movie “Butler” this made me think about how as a young African American male I can relate to some similar situations. In the movie as the young boy witnesses his father become a “house nigger” he grows up and lives throughout the Black Power Movement. The son helped to change black lives and influenced where African Americans are today after witnessing all of the struggles that his father had to face. This is extremely inspirational to me because without people like him, I believe that the African American population would not have come as far as it has. If it wasn’t for all of the individuals who stood up for African American rights, our lives would not be the same. Even though there are still issues regarding equality and movements like “Black Lives Matter” there has overall been a significant number of changes and privileges granted to the African American community throughout history. The Greensboro sit-ins are directly related to the course because it has to do with the Civil Rights Movement. These sit-ins were a nonviolent movement that happened over the course of a few months like the Montgomery bus boycotts. The amount of people that got involved in the sit-ins following the initial sit-ins still shows that the Jim Crow laws were completely present. The sit-ins show de jure and de facto racial segregation was still very during this time.
The photograph depicting the Greensboro Four was originally published in the Greensboro Record. The creators of the Greensboro Sit In were influenced by murder of Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old accused of whistling at a white woman in a grocery store. The four men were also influenced by the peaceful protests of Gandhi not only this they also were inclined by the early Freedom Rides which were organized by the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE). The four men took a peaceful approach which was one of the only effective ways to attempt to break the racial barrier without violence and get hurt themselves. With the help of a white business man, Ralph Jones the men planned out the protest carefully. After the protest when the police arrived no action was taken because the four men hadn’t actually done anything wrong. Their main focus was to get as much media attention as they could and the next day there were even more college students attending the protest. The four men that stood up for themselves during the Greensboro Sit In were influenced by many historical icons but they themselves have also become icons for the African American community.
The protest occurred in February of 1960, and the photo was published on February 2, 1960. Throughout this time period, even though slavery had already ended, African Americans were still fighting for their rights. They were finally standing up for themselves in order to become member of society with equal rights. This was an important time for them, because they were finally able to stand up for what they wanted without violence. As African Americans earned more rights they began to build confidence and work towards more equality. The Greensboro sit-ins were a historical movement that was influenced by these cultural changes and was also an influencer of more cultural changes and innovations. This time period was one of the most influential and important eras for African Americans after of the ending of slavery.
The Greensboro sit-ins were significant to this time period because it took place in 1960 which at that time was prime for racial segregation and had a lot to do with the Civil Rights Movement. With many different racial problems for African Americans at this time and parties like CORE and Martin Luther King, Jr. all trying to overcome racial segregation, these sit-ins helped to point people to the right direction when it came to allowing blacks to be considered real people with full rights. The significance of what these four men started will never change or lose value. They single handily helped to start the movement that allowed blacks to be allowed to eat at restaurants with whites.
Throughout the quarter we have learned about many different things, when it comes to the picture that I have chosen to use I believe that it reverts back to the course completely. We have learned about black rights, learned about slavery and how African Americans were wrongly forced to leave their home land. We have watched videos on how our people were treated and what they had to endure. When it comes to my artifact it touches on how blacks were not allowed these rights they have been fighting for, how they had to endure more punishment just to be able to sit at a counter to eat. Not only do the sit-ins help with blacks being able to enjoy a nice meal they helped to open the world’s eyes to all the unfair treatment that they had been going through.
“The Greensboro Sit-In.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 5 June 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.
“Woolworth’s Lunch Counter – Separate Is Not Equal.” Woolworth’s Lunch Counter – Separate Is Not Equal. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.