A Brief History of the Sit-In Movement

Greensboro Sit-Ins
Howard Sochurek / Time Life Pictures / Getty

Segregation in Practice
Though the four North Carolina A&T students were not the first to sit at a segregated lunch counter — history records sit-ins taking place in Chicago in 1942 and St. Louis, Mo., in 1949 — their actions came at a time when the civil rights movement had gained wide momentum. By the fall of 1960, sit-ins had occurred in more than 80 cities across the South. At the Kresge's store in Petersburg, Va., above, protesters who have been refused service stand and wait to be seated nevertheless. Shortly after this photograph was taken, the store desegregated its lunch counter.

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