Civil Rights are for Everyone

Standard

“They sat so we could stand up,” reads the motto on a t-shirt in the window of the International Civil Rights Museum I recently visited  in neighboring Greensboro, North Carolina.  My Australians were in town, and they asked to go.  It was a sobering experience, even though I’d been to the museum before.

IMG_3762

On February 1, 1960, four young college students went to the lunch counter at the local Woolworth Dime Store.  Because of the Jim Crow laws, and because they were Negro, these young men could order at the counter, but they had to take away their food.  They could not sit and eat at the counter with white people.  And by the way, there were many other restrictions on their freedom besides that one, based only on the color of their skin.

They were not served that day, nor were they and the other young people of color who went each day from February 1 to mid-July, to sit and wait to order and be served, from opening to closing… every single day.  Persistence, politeness, and peacefulness finally broke the system.  Four employees (of color) were asked to sit, and they were served, ate their food, and integrated the lunch counter.  Part of that counter is displayed in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D. C.  The rest, there in Greensboro, is the original.

Our past is our past and our history is our history.  We have moments of pride and moments of shame.  It is the human condition, individual and collective, across time and nation.  Being in the museum, that original Woolworth’s store, in the cafe, and knowing that four brave guys took a chance to peacefully change a wrong practice for the right one made gave me goosebumps.

Civil Rights are not just about race.  They are about equality for all humankind.  You don’t need me to list all the groups for which this need for equality applies.   I’m pretty sure I’m not as courageous as the Greensboro Four, and I’m grateful they were.

Advertisements

2 responses »

  1. Love you

    On Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 2:10 PM Horton Hears Herself wrote:

    > Horton Hears Herself posted: “”They sat so we could stand up,” reads the > motto on a t-shirt in the window of the International Civil Rights Museum I > recently visited in neighboring Greensboro, North Carolina. My > Australians were in town, and they asked to go. It was a sobering expe” >

  2. We also had WFU and Winston-Salem State students protest in this way in WS. There were people from my church arrested and in the leadership of the Civil Rights movement. They all worked collectively to move the efforts forward. I even participated as a child. We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to mourn. The civil rights movement is not over even today. That is why some athletes choose to “take a knee” during the national anthem.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s