The only reason we drove through Greensboro, North Carolina is so we could go to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. I googled this before leaving home and thought right, we’ve got to go there! Greensboro doesn’t have all that much except for this museum. By the end of the 1½-hour tour, Richie shook the hand of the tour guide and said, “Thanks Mate, this was the best 10 bucks we’ve spent in America!”
This museum is dedicated to encouraging change in attitudes towards racial issues and segregation the world over. It has the bar and stools where the 4 young Black-American students (they were 17 & 18 yrs old) decided to “sit-in” in 1960 to eat cherry pie and drink a cup of coffee. This was against the segregation laws of the state.
It was one of the most effective non-violent demonstrations against segregation that America has seen. Just like Rosa Parks, who refused to stand up for a white man on a bus, these 4 boys helped shape the civil rights movement by also sitting down to prove a point. The boys didn’t verbally abuse anyone, they courteously asked for a piece of pie and a coffee. When they were refused, they just sat there until closing. This happened day after day and then other students came and supported them and did the same. They would bring homework and just sit there in silence.
In the following days, Woolworths started losing customers and there was even a bomb threat. The owners then decided to close it down. When it was reopened, they allowed for all people, no matter the colour of their skin, to eat at Woolworths.
This was really inspiring.
In life, when we are standing against something that is wrong, we don’t necessarily need to give great speeches or yell or scream or stamp our feet. Sometimes, you just need to sit down and not say anything at all. Your presence is what will make the loudest noise of all, and your silence will be deafening. This is what the 4 boys taught me.
Here is the website for all the details – photos are not allowed inside the museum hence all the building picts.
If you are heading down the east coast, this is definitely worth a stop.