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Greensboro: Where The Movement Began

Date: circa June 1970

Author: Edwin M. Yoder, Jr.

Biographical/Historical abstract: Edwin Yoder Jr. was the associate editor of the Greensboro Daily News.

Additional contributor:


In this Greensboro Daily News article, Edwin Yoder Jr. reviews Miles Wolff Jr.'s book, Lunch At The Five & 10, about the February 1960 sit-ins at Greensboro's Woolworth store. Yoder begins by discussing the backdrop for the sit-ins, claiming Greensboro had a “decaying downtown” and that North Carolina A&T State University, where the four original protesters were students, was a conservative university “set in the Southern pattern of educational paternalism.” In his book, Wolff states that business owner Ralph Johns influenced the four students—David Richmond, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan)—to sit-in, setting off similar protests throughout the South. He then argues that city councilman Edward Zane's negotiating committee led to the desegregation of the counter. He also discusses the young whites who taunt the demonstrators and orchestrate a counter sit-in. He concludes by claiming that the economic effect of a boycott of downtown stores was what really led to desegregation in Greensboro. Yoder writes that Wolff's book “recaptured those days with a sense of their drama, with deft characterization of the principals and with a sure feeling for the mood.”

This article was clipped and saved in a scrapbook by Clarence “Curly” Harris, manager of the Greensboro Woolworth store at the time of the 1960 sit-ins. Also included are Harris' comments on the article. Harris argues that money was not the cause for Woolworth's decision to desegregate, that Woolworth did not have anyone arrested, and that Greensboro's downtown was “the dominant area in the city” in 1960.


Format of original: Newspaper Clippings

Collection: Clarence Lee Harris Papers

Repository: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Item#: 1.4.1083

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