The Greensboro Four
On February 1st, 1960, four African American college students entered a Woolworth’s Drugstore in Greensboro, North Carolina, sat down at the lunch counter, and asked to be served. At that time, many businesses in the United States maintained a policy of “whites-only” service. The students who later came to be known as The Greensboro Four, refused to leave until service had been provided. On the second day of their sit-in, they were joined by more protesters. The next day, even more protesters joined in. Over time, these types of sit-ins helped to end discriminatory policies at many establishments.
It is an unfortunate fact that even today, the struggle for equal rights continues. Different groups of people, marginalized because of race, gender, lifestyle and religious beliefs find themselves discriminated against on a daily basis. The story of The Greensboro Four reminds us of the importance of the right to peacefully protest unfair policies, express opinions and fight for equality.
Thank you for being a part of the Professional Educators Network. We hope you enjoy this new installment of History’s ARTifacts. Please watch the educational video with your students, download the poster by this month’s artist, Noah.
Meet the Artist: Noah Lawrence-Holder
Noah is an illustrator and animator living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in 2017 with a BFA in Animation, and currently works full-time in the creative world. Noah values eye-catching movement, playful imagery and bold color.
Activities for The Greensboro Four Lunch Counter Sit-in
- As the original Greensboro Four staged their sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, word spread about the protest. While the media generated much coverage, word of mouth helped spread the word to other students about the protests. Write a letter that serves as a call-to-action to other students encouraging them to join the protest. Include reasons why the protest is important, the dangers they may face, and the non-violent tactics they should employ.
- Protest art has been used as an integral tool to galvanize and inspire activists for decades. Protest art style has changed along with the times. With the advent of new technology, the creation and distribution of protest art has evolved. Think about an issue that you are passionate about and design your own piece of protest art to go along with it.
- Music was also a critical part of the protest movement of the 60s. There was a song dedicated to the Greensboro Four, The Ballad of the Sit-ins. Using the issue that inspired your art above, write your own lyrics and music to create a song that spreads the word about your passion. You can join forces with a friend and split the duties of either writing lyrics or writing the music.