Civil Rights Center honors those who fought for racial equality

By Jordan Carey
Times-News correspondent

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The International Civil Rights Center & Museum is housed in the historic F.W. Woolworth building on 134 South Elm St. in downtown Greensboro. [International Civil Rights Center & Museum

   GREENSBORO — February 1, 1960 — many   North Carolina residents know this as the day   four college students Ezell Blair, Franklin   McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond —   began a series of nonviolent protests against   racial segregation.
Their simple act of sitting down at   Woolworth’s  lunch counter in Greensboro   sparked similar movements across the United   States. Today, the original building that housed   the lunch counter, has been transformed into a   museum to commemorate these historic events.
The International Civil Rights Center & Museum aims to honor these protests and bring light to the lesser-known side of American history. The museum paints a clear picture of the struggles of African-Americans in a segregated and discriminatory society in the early and mid-20th century. In all of the exhibits, from the lunch counter to their Hall of Shame, no attempts are made to cover up or make less of the events that happened to the black community.
In many sections of the museum, there are displays of how companies and businesses made African-Americans seem less than human, but the example of the Woolworth sit-in began to reverse that way of thinking.
The museum was co-founded in 1993 by Melvin “Skip” Alston, a Durham native, and Earl Jones, who grew up in Burlington.
The two men created the International Civil Rights Center & Museum as a way to preserve not only North Carolina history, but a part of American history. What started out as a local protest against the discrimination against black Americans ended up spreading throughout the nearby colleges and high schools, and eventually across the country.
The museum is located in the historic Woolworth building on 134 South Elm St. in downtown Greensboro. Tours are lead by knowledgeable guides, who will walk patrons through all the exhibits. Cost is $12 for adults: $10 for seniors and students 13 years old and up; and $8 for children 6 to 12 years old. Children under the age of 6 are admitted for free with an accompanying adult.

For more information about the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, visit www.sitinmovement.org or call 336-274-9199.

Jordan Carey is a home-schooled sophomore high-schooler and a Teens & 20s writer.

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