A Counter Becomes History


To mark the unveiling of the Greensboro Woolworth's Lunch Counter Display, NMAH held a public dedication on January 14, 1995. Jibreel Khazan (formerly Ezell Blair, Jr.), Joseph McNeil, and Franklin McCain were present to discuss the sit-ins and their memories of the Civil Rights movement. In this video, Khazan recalls his interaction with the counter workers and some of the store's white patrons.

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It's not about color. As Joseph said, on that day, while we were sitting at that lunch counter, the African American woman who was the waitress told us to get up and leave, because we made our race look bad--we knew she was under pressure.

Then out of nowhere came these two little old ladies--like, "who's got the beef"--they could have been nuns, or they could have been Quakers. And they said "Boys, what you're doing is right,"--white women--"stand up for your rights, we support you."

Man, that blew my mind. And I learned that day, you can't judge a book by looking at its cover, you got to go for the mind and the heart.


Video of the question and answer period at the Greensboro Lunch Counter dedication, National Museum of American History, January 14, 1995.