Experience a piece of living history on 50th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-ins
GREENSBORO, N.C., (Jan. 20, 2010) — The International Civil Rights Center & Museum invites the public to its Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Program on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. The event is free and open to the public, and begins at 8 a.m. in front of the Museum at the corner of Elm Street and February One Place in downtown Greensboro.
Following the ceremony and program, tours will be available to the public beginning at 1 p.m. Advance tickets are required to tour the Museum on opening day. Information about ticket sales will be announced on Jan. 25, 2010.
Speakers at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will include:
- Franklin McCain, one of the four students who launched the sit-in movement in 1960 by sitting down at the “whites only” lunch counter.
- Guilford County Commissioner Melvin “Skip” Alston and N.C. Rep. Earl Jones, co-founders of the Museum
- North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue
- United States Senator Kay Hagan
- Representative from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
- Representative from the Obama Administration
The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony is expected to draw thousands of citizens to downtown Greensboro, and will be held rain or shine. Those interested in attending are encouraged to arrive early and to enter at the intersection of Elm and Washington Street.
Parking for the event will be located in all city owned parking decks downtown, as well as overflow parking at the Depot Station and on-street parking. It is anticipated that most public parking lots will be full by 7:30 a.m., so those interested in attending are encouraged to arrive early in order to find suitable parking.
The following streets will be closed at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010 to accommodate the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (streets will remain closed to vehicular traffic until approximately 2 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010 to accommodate the Commemorative March):
· Elm Street (from Market to Washington)
· Davie Street (from Market to Washington)
· Greene Street, one lane (from Market to Washington)
Designed to commemorate the Greensboro sit-ins, the Museum’s exhibitions span two floors and cover 30,000 square feet. A blend of educational exhibits, period artifacts and state-of-the art technology will be featured, taking visitors on a journey through the challenges African Americans faced in the struggle for equal rights. The Museum will also highlight key contributors in the civil rights movement and celebrate the impact of the sit-in movement on civil and human rights issues throughout the world.
Patrons of the grand opening charter tours will be among the first in the nation to view the original, fully-restored “whites-only” lunch counter and stools where the Greensboro Four began a six month protest in 1960. The Museum also houses 14 feature exhibits focusing on the international struggle for civil and human rights, as well as a range of authentic artifacts.
Visitors can see first-hand a bus seat signed by Rosa Parks and an authentic wooden slave auction sign. There’s a medical bag used by Dr. George Evans, the first African-American physician allowed to practice medicine in an all-white Greensboro hospital. Also on display is one of the pens President Lyndon B. Johnson used to sign the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
“It’s an honor to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in with the grand opening of the Museum,” said Melvin “Skip” Alston, chairman and co-founder of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. “This landmark stands as a physical testament to the courage, sacrifice and commitment those four young men demonstrated 50 years ago. We hope that members of the community will take advantage of the momentous opportunity to tour the Museum on grand opening day.”
For more information about the International Civil Rights Center & Museum’s grand opening schedule of events, visit www.sitinmovement.org.