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Museum Gala celebrates 60th Sit-in Anniversary

Special to the Peacemaker / January 30, 2020

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The International Civil Rights Center and Museum in downtown Greensboro.

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum will host its annual awards and fundraising Gala on Feb. 1, marking the milestone of the 60th Anniversary of the protest against racially segregated lunch counters. This act of nonviolent, civil disobedience led by four A&T College freshmen: David Richmond, Frank McCain, Sr., Ezell Blair, Jr. (Jibreel Khazan) and Joseph McNeil, ignited the Sit-In Movement nationwide.

This commemorative occasion, the ICRCM’s biggest fundraising event of the year, will also celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the museum’s opening. The evening will honor national and local activists who have made significant contributions to advancing human and civil rights.

The theme of the 2020 Gala is “The Movement Continues.”

“We have had a very high level of enthusiastic response to our Gala this year,” CEO John Swaine stated. “A lot of people from the local area and from considerably farther away have expressed a desire to convene at this point in the nation’s history and join in the celebration of the momentous start of the Sit-In Movement. He indicated that the museum will be observing the 60th Anniversary all year with a particular focus on July 25, the date on which the Woolworth’s lunch counter was racially integrated.

During the Gala, the Rev. Al Sharpton will be honored for his continued work on behalf of civil rights and human equality with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Noted actor and activist Danny Glover will receive the ICRCM Trailblazer Award. We will recognize Clayola Brown, union leader and labor activist, as our Unsung Hero, and the Rev. Dr. Cardes H. Brown Jr., with the Lifetime Community Service Award. In addition, Dr. Linda B. Brown and Emma Washington will be our 2020 Sit-In Participant Award honorees, for their involvement in the sit-ins at the Greensboro F.W. Woolworth’s in 1960. Participation by all of these honorees has been confirmed.

The event will take place from 7 – 9 p.m., at the Greensboro Coliseum. Those who wish to attend may learn more, or make reservations, by visiting the Web site: www.sitinmovement.org.

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum is both a museum and an educational organization devoted to the understanding and advancement of civil and human rights in this country and around the world. It commemorates the launch, on Feb. 1, 1960, of the sit-ins at a Whites-only lunch counter, in Greensboro, by four North Carolina A&T College students, whose protest spurred the larger modern Sit-In Movement and re-ignited the Civil Rights Movement as a whole. The non-violent action carried out emblematically at this F.W. Woolworth’s store challenged the American people to make good on trans-generational promises of civil rights and social inclusion enunciated in the Constitution of the United States. The sit-ins, aiming to bring a “new normal” of decent ordinary encounters among citizens as equals, were sustained for six months, at which time the lunch counter was successfully integrated. This is a historical place with a story of progress valiantly earned.


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Since 1967, the Carolina Peacemaker has served as North Carolina’s leading news weekly with a national reputation. Founded by Dr. John Kilimanjaro, the newspaper is published by Carolina Newspaper, Inc.

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