Luncheon Racism II

Lead: Simple but bold action by four college students in Greensboro, North Carolina in February 1960, refocused the civil rights movement on discrimination in public accommodations.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

Content: Perhaps no part of the elaborate structure of white dominance in the era of Jim Crow was more irritating to African Americans than the intricate edifice of petty segregation. Separate and usually very unequal sleeping and eating facilities, restrooms, drinking fountains, and public transportation were a constant reminder to blacks of their second class status. Overcoming such bigotry was difficult and victories such as the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott in the mid-1950s were few.

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Luncheon Racism I

Lead: In early February 1960, the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, became a powerful symbol the in the fight against racial segregation in the American south.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Late in the afternoon on February 1st, four students from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical College – Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair and David Richmond - staged a “sit in.” Three of the four were freshmen, all still teenagers, were respectfully dressed in coats and ties, and one, ROTC student Franklin McCain, was still in uniform. Carrying their schoolbooks, the students entered the Woolworth’s on South Elm Street and purchased a few school supplies, and then proceeded to the “whites only” lunch counter where they sat down and politely asked for service which as they anticipated, was denied. One of the students later told the UPI, “We believe, since we buy books and papers in the other part of the store, we should get served in this part.”

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Freedom Summer

Lead:  In 1964 the efforts of Civil Rights activists to register African American voters in Mississippi became known as the “Freedom Summer.”

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: After the landmark “Brown” Supreme Court decision, Civil Rights groups worked hard to end segregation and political discrimination in the deep South. There such practices were deeply entrenched and changes were strongly resisted by many whites. In the summer of 1964 a coalition of civil rights organizations including CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, sometimes known as SNCC (snick),  focused their efforts on Mississippi – since just 6.7% of blacks were registered to vote. That number was intentionally kept small in a large part due to institutional obstruction such as requiring African Americans to pay poll taxes and pass tests that were not required of white voters.

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Leadership: Jo Ann Gibson Robinson

Lead: Some of the most powerful leaders can be those who are almost invisible. Consider the self-effacing and gentle leadership of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson.       

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: It is difficult to remember, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, what it was like to be black in the south just a few decades ago - separate accommodations, separate, but unequal schools, separate public services. One of the singular milestones on the hard road to full-citizenship for African Americans was the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. There, in the mid-1950s, a group of brave, visionary women, led the black community to initial defiance and then stepped aside to let the natural leaders take the lead. They demonstrated the essence of invisible leadership. Scholars Georgia Sorenson and Gill Hickman define invisible leadership as quiet, unobtrusive influence motivated less by self-interest than commitment to a common purpose.

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Leadership: Oliver Hill – II

Lead: Some civil rights leaders became masters of the sound bite, making their contribution in public protest. Not so Oliver Hill. He chose legal weapons to take apart the institutions of white supremacy.               

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.              

Content: Leadership is not always a visible, public exercise. In the twentieth century civil rights movement a variety of stratagem was applied. Some went for public demonstrations. Oliver Hill, following the lifelong approach of his mentor at Howard University Law, Dean Charles Hamilton Huston, went after the legal apparatus that sustained segregation. From their Richmond law firm Hill and his associates litigated scores of cases during the 1950s and 1960s, never losing one.

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Leadership: Oliver Hill – I

Lead: In the leadership ranks of the twentieth century civil rights movement, few equal the contribution of Oliver Hill. His quiet, unobtrusive legal and personal tenacity helped break the back of massive resistance.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

                Content: Oliver Hill was born in 1907 and grew up in Richmond and Roanoke Virginia and in Washington, D.C. He attended Howard University and Howard Law School where he and other students, including his classmate and friend, future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, came under the pervasive influence of Dean Charles Hamilton Huston. Huston imparted to his students his lifelong dream of taking apart, root and branch, the legal apparatus of discrimination against blacks in twentieth century America.

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