GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Monday was opening day for the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C., where a sit-in that changed America took place 50 years ago.
It was February 1, 1960, that four black college freshmen walked up to the “whites only'' lunch counter at an F.W. Woolworth in Greensboro, N.C., sat down and demanded service.
Five days after that protest, the demonstration reached at least 1,000 people.
Within two months, sit-ins were happening in 54 cities in nine states. And within six months, the Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter was desegregated.
The International Civil Rights Center and Museum is located on the site of the Greensboro Woolworth store.
Part of the original counter is now at the Smithsonian, but the original stools where the four students sat are still there.
One of those students, Franklin McCain, now says “sitting on that dumb stool'' was “the best feeling of my life.''
The building was preserved through a purchase in 1993 from a bank that had planned to turn it into a parking lot.
Photo: On February 2, 1960, a group of black students from North Carolina A&T College, who were refused service at a lunch counter reserved for white customers, staged a sit-down protest at the F.W. Woolworth store in Greensboro, North Carolina. Pictured above are, from left to right, Ronald Martin, Robert Patterson and Mark Martin.