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Spark for sit-in movement began 60 years ago in N Carolina

February 1, 2020 GMT

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — It’s now been 60 years since four black college students who were denied service at a whites-only lunch counter in a North Carolina city spawned the civil rights sit-in movement in the South.

The anniversary is being remembered this weekend in Greensboro, where the North Carolina A&T State University students sought service at Woolworth’s on Feb. 1, 1960. It took almost six months before Woolworth agreed to allow African Americans to eat at the lunch counter.

The sit-ins started by David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Jibreel Khazan and Joseph McNeil touched off protests in nine states and helped spark civil rights activity. Part of the lunch counter is now at the Smithsonian Institution.

McNeil and Khazan are still living. They attended a wreath-laying ceremony on Friday at a monument honoring the four on the North Carolina A&T campus. The International Civil Rights Center & Museum, which occupies the former Woolworth’s store, also planned its annual dinner and awards gala on Saturday evening at the Greensboro Coliseum’s special events center. Gov. Roy Cooper is speaking at that event.