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Greensboro Sit-ins - Launch of a Civil Rights Movement

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N.C. Stores Close Down Counters
Action Follows Negro Protest
Spread of movement predicted. Page. B1

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Wednesday, February 10, 1960.

CHARLOTTE, Feb.9 (UPI) - Lunch counters in a dozen dime and department stores closed here today and in Winston-Salem and Fayetteville as a Negro protest against segregated eating facilities spread across North Carolina.

The sitdown demonstrations by Negro college students began last week in Greensboro at the F.W. Woolworth Co. store, apparently spontaneously. However, it was learned today that young North Carolina Negroes planned such a demonstration in Durham as early as December, and that Durham apparently was scheduled to be first.

In the meantime, representatives from the New York office of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) were in the state to advise the Negroes how to carry out the strike to maximum efficiency. They were being advised to hit one target — Woolworth chain stores — rather than spreading themselves thin at a number of stores.

Sitdown demonstrations began this morning and afternoon at five downtown Charlotte stores and shortly before noon at a Winston-Salem drug store and late in the afternoon at two variety stores in Fayetteville.

During the afternoon it spread to the big LIggett Drug Store, located at the corner of Charlotte's main downtown intersection, and to four other stores in Winston-Salem.

Store Closes

The F.W. Woolworth Store here closed immediately after the young Negros appeared. The S.H. Kress & Co., McLellan and W.T. Grant Co. dime stores and big Belk Brothers Department Store closed their lunch counters in the face of the sitdowns.

A group of about 18 Negroes, believed to be students from Fayetteville State Teachers College, sat at the lunch counter about 5 p.m. at the Fayetteville F.W. Woolworth Co. and later moved to McCrory when the counter was closed.

Woolworth Manager C.A. Foster said the Negroes left when informed the counter was closed. He reported "nothing disorderly" about the demonstration.

When the demonstrators marched into McCrory's they were greeted with placards on the counter that read "Temporarily Closed."

Foster said he did not know if the counter at the Fayetteville Woolworth store would be closed Wednesday. "The people of Fayetteville will have to tell us what to do. Otherwise, we'll have to make the decision," he said.

Separate Facilities

In Charlotte, McLellan, which maintains "separate but equal" facilities for Negroes, kept its Negro lunch counter open and the Belk store kept its cafeteria open but refused to serve the Negroes. A total of almost 100 Negroes appeared at the three stores, but only a few remained on the scene after the counters closed.

J.B. Ivey & Co. and Sears, Roebuck & Co. in the "Queen City of the Carolina" all closed their lunch counters, although a spokesman for Sears said the counter had been "closed for repairs."

A spokesman at Liggett's said several Negroes appeared there but only two sat down at the fountain and we refused to serve them. We closed the fountain down right away."

Lunch counters at Woolworth and Kress stores in Greensboro and Durham remained closed. The protest also touched off a bomb scare today at partially integrated Durham high school. A caller who attributed the "bombing to the Negro protest reported that explosives had been placed in the building. Police searched the school but found nothing.

The Walgreen Drug store in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem closed its lunch counter shortly before noon while the Kress store, scene of a demonstration Monday, did not open its lunch counter for Negroes, closed both counters shortly after noon after 10-12 Negroes sat at the white counter without being served. Herman Warren, store manager, said "it must be an outside element. It irritated our regular Negro customers".

O'Hanlon's drug store in Winston-Salem closed its counter shortly after 3 p.m. when a group of Negroes attempted to gain service. A drug store in the huge Reynolds building Bobbit's drugs, closed its lunch counter after they had served a few Negroes "until further notice . . . in the interest of public safety" about the same time and for the same reason.

The H.L. Green Department Store, which maintains a separate counter for Winston-Salem Negroes located in a different section from the white counter, closed both counters today.


CHARLOTTE, Feb. 9 A passive resistance movement by North Carolina Negro students against segregated lunch counter service spread to Charlotte today, guided by a young ministerial student.

"I have no malice, no jealousy, no hatred, no envy," said Joseph Charles Jones, a Negro student at Johnson C. Smith University.

"All I want is to come in and place my order and be served and leave a tip if I feel like it."

"Of course, this movement here and those in Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Durham are interrelated," said Jones, "in that they are parts of my race's efforts to secure God-given rights.

"But they are not a part of a plan and were undertaken independently. We did not consult with groups or individuals at the other schools. There is no organization behind us."

Jones disclaimed leadership of the Charlotte demonstrators, yet periodically received whispered reports from the students. And when a reporter began to question a demonstrator, Jones moved down the line of counter seats, saying, "Don't talk to anyone."

He denied that he was their spokesman, yet he was the only one of their number who talked freely.


CHARLOTTE, Feb. 9 A Negro minister and newspaper publisher condemned student demonstrations for an end to segregated lunch counter service today as "uncalled for, unnecessary, ill-advised and inexpedient."

Dr. J.S. Nathaniel Tross, pastor of an AME Zion Church here and publisher of the weekly Charlotte Post, made the statement in a radio interview.

Dr. Tross asserted that the demonstration in Charlotte was inspired and financed outside the city, but did not elaborate.

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