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Lunch Counter Desegregation Commemorated


GREENSBORO, N.C. — The International Civil Rights Center & Museum will host ‘The Moment, The Music, The Movement,’ honoring the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the F.W. Woolworth lunch counter. The celebration will be held at the Empire Room and the Museum located in downtown Greensboro from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on July 25. Six months after the Greensboro sit-ins commenced, the store’s lunch counter was successfully integrated on July 25, 1960.

The Museum will honor four former F.W. Woolworth employees — Geneva Tisdale, Susie Morrison, Anetha Jones and Charles Bess. They were selected on July 25, 1960 by store manager Clarence “Curly” Harris to be the first African American customers served at the store’s lunch counter. By the end of that same week, more than 300 African Americans would be served at the Greensboro F.W. Woolworth lunch counter.

The Museum will also pay tribute to other F.W. Woolworth employees including Ima Edwards and Robert Moore who worked at the famous “five and dime” store during the landmark protests. Participants from the Greensboro sit-ins and those who protested at segregated eating facilities across the Triad are also invited.

“It is important that we remember the accomplishments achieved on this day,” said Museum Chairman and Co-founder Melvin “Skip” Alston. “We want to honor these individuals who played such an important and historic role in the sit-in story. This commemoration will honor them and their families.”

The afternoon will feature two main activities at the Empire Room: “A Civil Rights Ecumenical Service” and “Jubilee 2010.” Admission to the event is free. The Museum will also be open for tours of its exhibitions. General admission fees will apply for Museum tours.

A Civil Rights Ecumenical Service – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The day will begin with “A Civil Rights Ecumenical Service,” as an assembly of clergy offers prayers for the Museum’s continued growth and development, as well as the nation’s progress and world peace. Vocalists and instrumentalists will also provide sacred musical selections along with songs identified with the civil rights movement. During the program, sit-in participants and former F.W. Woolworth employees will be acknowledged for their actions.

Jubilee 2010 – 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The afternoon will conclude with musical highlights from the movement and songs from other eras conveying the spirit of resistance, love of liberty and commitment to social change. The lineup is set to feature Boston’s House of Jazz All-Stars, the Destiny Brothers and R&B recording artist Shanna, among others.

The sit-in movement began at the Greensboro lunch counter on Feb. 1, 1960. Led by the Greensboro Four - Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair (Jibreel Khazan) and David Richmond - it launched a movement that spread across 54 cities in nine states in six weeks.

“If the cold kept you away from the grand opening on February 1, don’t let the heat keep you away from experiencing what a taste of freedom was like on July 25th,” said Alston.



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