Black students of Concord, N.C. sit-in for U.S. civil rights, 1960

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Time Period:  
Time period notes: 
The sit-ins stop around mid-April, and it is unclear if any action occurs between April and August.
12 February
17 August
Location and Goals
United States
Location City/State/Province: 
Concord, North Carolina
Protesters wanted stores to integrate their lunch counters in Concord, North Carolina.

On 12 February 1960, nearly two weeks after sit-ins at Greensboro, North Carolina (the Greensboro Four) began, over 100 students at the historically black school Barber-Scotia College started sit-ins in the lunch counter at Belk’s department store and three other lunch counters in Concord, North Carolina. In addition to sit-ins, the students organized pray-ins, where they gathered for prayer in public areas and places reserved for whites. Aside from white teenage hecklers, the students did not face much initial repression.

However, on 25 March 1960, police arrested seven protesters for trespassing at a lunch counter, marking the first arrests since the sit-ins began. The lunch counter was a local drugstore, Pearl Drug Store. In response to the arrests, 58 students marched through Concord, carrying signs with slogans like “I am an American, too.” They passed Belk’s department store, two other lunch counters, and ended the march in the town square. The march remained non-violent despite jeering from crowds watching the students. The next day, the police released the arrested students on the conditions of a $25 fine and a six-month probationary period.

A few weeks later, on 11 April 1960, another set of arrests occurred. This time, the local lunch counter was Williams Candy Kitchen. Six students were arrested for trespassing and released later on the same conditions as the group in March. One student sued the owner for physical assault charges, but the judge quickly dismissed the case.

After the April 11 sit-ins, protest activity halted due to the end of the school semester. During the four months without another sit-in, lunch counters in Concord quietly integrated. On 17 August 1960, a black couple ate at Belk’s lunch counter at the whites-only section, signaling an official end to public lunch counter segregation in Concord.

Research Notes

This sit-in occurred in response to the Greensboro Four sit-ins that began about two weeks earlier.

The initial issue of the campaign newsletter, "the Scotia Express," made the following statement that was repeated later by others in the sit-in movement: “We want the world to know that we no longer accept the inferior position of second-class citizenship. We are willing to go to jail, be ridiculed, spat upon and even suffer physical violence to obtain First Class Citizenship.”

Press, Associated. "Miami Reports Racial Incidents as Movement Expands in South." St. Petersburg Times [St. Petersburg] 05 March 1960, Sec. A; Pg. 1. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.

Press, Associated. "58 March in Concord After 7 Are Arrested." Utica Daily Press [Utica] 26 March 1960. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.

Press, Associated. "Police Arrest Six Negroes at Counters." The Spartanburg Herald [Spartanburg] 12 April 1960, Pg. 3. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.

Press, Associated. "Bomb Threat Halts Counter Sitdown." The Blade [Toledo] 13 April 1960, Pg. 36. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.

Press, Associated. "-Thousands." Baltimore Afro-American [Baltimore] 26 April 1960, Pg. 2. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.

Press, Associated. "Negroes Served." The Spartanburg Herald [Spartanburg] 17 August 1960, Pg. 1. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Kerry Robinson 02/03/2014