Greensboro Sit-In ~ February ~ American History


1960 – Four black college students began a sit-in protest at a lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. They had been refused service.

The Greenboro Sit-Ins of 1960 provoked all manner of emotions when they occurred and they remain an important part of civil rights history. Accepting and taking to the limit Martin Luther King’s idea of non-violence and peaceful protests, the sit-ins provoked the type of reaction the Civil Rights movement wanted – public condemnation of the treatment of those involved but also continuing to highlight the issue of desegregation in the South. The sit-ins started in 1960 at Greensboro, North Carolina.

In this city, on February 1st, 1960, four African American college students from North Carolina A+T College (an all-black college) went to get served in an all-white restaurant at Woolworth’s. The shop was open to all customers regardless of colour, but the restaurant was for whites only. They asked for food, were refused service and asked to leave. The students had done research on what they were doing and had read a handout on tactics of resistance by CORE. This direct action by Ezell Blair Jnr, David Richmond, Franklin McCain and Joseph McNeil sparked off the so-called sit-ins. However, they were not heroes to all African American people. One Black lady, a dishwasher, behind the counter was heard to shout at them that they were “stupid, ignorant…….rabble-rousers, troublemakers.” The food counter did not serve them but the café shut 30 minutes early. When the four students returned to their campus, they were greeted as heroes by fellow students.

Other students followed their example over the following days in February. On February 2nd, 24 students took part in a sit-in at Woolworth’s food counter.

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The above photo shows, left to right, Ronald Martin, Robert Patterson and (partially hidden) Mark Martin at the Woolworth’s counter on February 2nd. The white lady on the left arrived at the counter for lunch but refused to sit down with African Americans; she left.

On February 4th, black students were joined by white female students from the North Carolina’s Women’s College. Segregated food counters throughout Greensboro were affected.

Such was the chaos created that the restaurant in Woolworth’s was forced to close. In its initial stages, theNAACP was reluctant to get involved and one thought mooted by the students was not to allow the involvement of adults. More and more students across the South copied the Greensboro example of direct action. By February 7th, there were 54 sit-ins throughout the South in 15 cities in 9 states.

One reason put forward for this approach by the students was that they had seen little return from other movements and they wanted the pace of the drive for equality speeded up. A future civil right leader, Robert Moses, claimed that he was sparked into action by the “sullen, angry and determined look” of the protesters that differed so much from the “defensive, cringing” expression common to most photos of protesters in the South.

One of the reasons that Greensboro was so important to the Civil Rights movement is that the press took a great interest in it and the protest was fully reported around the country. It obviously took Martin Luther Kingby surprise as it was only when a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference informed King of what was going on that he assured the protesters of his full support.

How successful were the sit-ins?

The photos of students (both white and African American) having food poured over them at lunch counters by those opposed to what they wanted, had an effect on the public in northern, eastern and western states. Many were horrified that at a time when the dictatorship of the Soviet Union was made clear to all, that such behaviour could take place in America – the land of the free. However, as Eisenhower had wished for, changes in the South had to come from the heart and not be enforced by a court in Washington; the protests only hardened attitudes amongst white segregationists in the South.

The sit-ins did have some impact. Stores in Atlanta, the city most associated with King, desegregated. The Woolworth’s at Greensboro eventually agreed to desegregate its food counter in July 1960 having lost $200,000 dollars of business or 20% of its anticipated sales.

But their value was more in terms of the coverage by the press and television which these protests received. To further their actions, students established the Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee (SNCC) with Marion Barry as its first leader. To some this was a negative move however as now there were four major civil rights movements in the South – NAACP, SCLC, CORE and SNCC. To which one were people more loyal to? There was even rancour in the ranks of the Civil Rights movement when King clashed with Roy Wilkins, leader of the NAACP, over the direction the movement was taking.

SNCC also involved itself with issues in the South. The position of the African Americans in the north had taken a backseat despite Ella Baker’s plea that SNCC should involve itself with housing, health care, voting and employment throughout America. Baker was the executive director of the SCLC. The NAACP never endorsed the sit-ins probably because of the different generations involved. The older NAACP leadership was clearly out of touch with the younger members of SNCC. Local NAACP groups did help the students with legal advice and bail money but this was done at an individual level not with the blessing of the NAACP hierarchy. One theory put forward for this is that those in the NAACP had jobs, mortgages etc and they feared losing all that they had if they were deemed outright supporters of direct action. As students, the youths had much less to lose.

Thurgood Marshall also derided the tactic, especially the tactic of jail-ins when the students deliberately cluttered up jails by refusing bail.

Regardless of this lack of support at the highest level in the NAACP, over 70,000 people took part in the sit-ins. They even spread to northern states such as Alabama and Ohio and the western state of Nevada. Sit-ins protested about segregated swimming pools, lunch counters, libraries, transport facilities, museums, art galleries, parks and beaches. By simply highlighting such practices, the students can claim to have played a significant part in the history of the civil rights movement.

Oscar Stanton DePriest, – Activist Black History


Image result for oscar stanton de priest

Oscar Stanton DePriest, born in Florence on March 9, 1871, was an American lawmaker and civil rights advocate who was the first Black Congressman of the 20th century. He moved to Chicago, where he became a successful businessman as a real estate broker, was a member of the board of commissioners of Cook County, Illinois, and served on the Chicago City Council from 1915-1917.

In 1928, De Priest became the first African American elected to Congress in the 20th century, representing the 1st Congressional District of Illinois as a Republican. During his three consecutive terms (1928-1935) as the only Black representative in Congress, De Priest introduced several anti-discrimination bills.

De Priest’s 1933 amendment barring discrimination in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Roosevelt. A third proposal, a bill to permit a transfer of jurisdiction if a defendant believed he or she could not get a fair trial because of race or religion, would be passed by another Congress in another era. Civil rights activists criticized De Priest for opposing federal aid to the needy, but they applauded him for speaking in the South despite death threats. They also praised him for telling an Alabama senator he was not big enough to prevent him from dining in the Senate restaurant and for defending the right of Howard University students to eat in the House restaurant. He was again elected to the Chicago city council in 1943 and served until 1947. De Priest died in Chicago, Illinois on May 12 1951.

Black History Month …a repost


by on Feb 9, 2012 still rings true

African American History Month honors the rich legacy of African Americans throughout our nation’s history. This year’s theme recognizes the unique contributions of African American women. February 9, 2012.

Sand Oil … and pipelines


Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Impact

Pipeline under construction in Alberta, Canada

rblood/Flickr

Leaks and the pipeline

Tar sands oil is thicker, more acidic, and more corrosive than lighter conventional crude, and this ups the likelihood that a pipeline carrying it will leak. Indeed, one study found that between 2007 and 2010, pipelines moving tar sands oil in Midwestern states spilled three times more per mile than the U.S. national average for pipelines carrying conventional crude. Since it first went into operation in 2010, TC Energy’s original Keystone Pipeline System has leaked more than a dozen times; one incident in North Dakota sent a 60-foot, 21,000-gallon geyser of tar sands oil spewing into the air. Most recently, on October 31, 2019, the Keystone tar sands pipeline was temporarily shut down after a spill in North Dakota of reportedly more than 378,000 gallons. And the risk that Keystone XL will spill has only been heightened: A study published in early 2020, co-authored by TC Energy’s own scientists, found that the anti-corrosion coating on pipes for the project is defective from being stored outside and exposed to the elements for the last decade.

.Complicating matters, leaks can be difficult to detect. And when tar sands oil does spill, it’s more difficult to clean up than conventional crude because it immediately sinks to the bottom of the waterway. People and wildlife coming into contact with tar sands oil are exposed to toxic chemicals, and rivers and wetland environments are at particular risk from a spill. (For evidence, recall the 2010 tar sands oil spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a disaster that cost Enbridge more than a billion dollars in cleanup fees and took six years to settle in court.) Keystone XL would cross agriculturally important and environmentally sensitive areas, including hundreds of rivers, streams, aquifers, and water bodies. One is Nebraska’s Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water for millions as well as 30 percent of America’s irrigation water. A spill would be devastating to the farms, ranches, and communities that depend on these crucial ecosystems.

What is tar sands oil?

The tar sands industry is just as hard on the cradle of its business. Its mines are a blight on Canada’s boreal, where operations dig up and flatten forests to access the oil below, destroying wildlife habitat and one of the world’s largest carbon sinks. They deplete and pollute freshwater resources, create massive ponds of toxic waste, and threaten the health and livelihood of the First Nations people who live near them. Refining the sticky black gunk produces piles of petroleum coke, a hazardous, coal-like by-product. What’s more, the whole process of getting the oil out and making it usable creates three to four times the carbon pollution of conventional crude extraction and processing. “This isn’t your grandfather’s typical oil,” says Anthony Swift, director of NRDC’s Canada project. “It’s nasty stuff.”

Keystone XL and climate change

A fully realized Keystone XL would lead to more mining of that “nasty stuff” by accelerating the pace at which it’s produced and transported. (Indeed, Keystone XL was viewed as a necessary ingredient in the oil industry’s plans to triple tar sands production by 2030.) 

for the complete article go to nrdc.org/stories/what-keystone-pipeline

Source: NRDC.org

History… February 9


1825 – The U.S. House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams president. No candidate had received a majority of electoral votes.

1861 – The Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America elected Jefferson Davis as its president.

1870 – The United States Weather Bureau was authorized by Congress. The bureau is officially known as the National Weather Service (NWS).

1884 – Thomas Edison and Patrick Kenny executed a patent application for a chemical recording stock quotation telegraph (U.S. Pat. 314,115).

1885 – The first Japanese arrived in Hawaii.

1895 – Volley Ball was invented by W.G. Morgan.

1895 – The first college basketball game was played as Minnesota State School of Agriculture defeated the Porkers of Hamline College, 9-3.

1900 – Dwight F. Davis put up a new tennis trophy to go to the winner in matches against England. The trophy was a silver cup that weighed 36 pounds.

1909 – The first forestry school was incorporated in Kent, Ohio.

1932 – America entered the 2-man bobsled competition for the first time at the Olympic Winter Games held at Lake Placid, NY.

1942 – The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff held its first formal meeting to coordinate military strategy during World War II.

1942 – Daylight-saving “War Time” went into effect in the U.S.

1943 – During World War II, the battle of Guadalcanal ended with an American victory over Japanese forces.

1950 – U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy charged that the State Department was riddled with Communists. This was the beginning of “McCarthyism.”

1958 – CBS radio debuted “Frontier Gentleman.”

1960 – A verbal agreement was reached between representatives of the American and National Football Leagues. Both agreed not to tamper with player contracts.

1960 – The first star was placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star was for Joanne Woodward.

1969 – The Boeing 747 flew its inaugural flight.

1971 – The San Fernando Valley experienced the Sylmar earthquake that registered 6.4 on the Richter Scale.

1971 – The Apollo 14 spacecraft returned to Earth after mankind’s third landing on the moon.

1975 – The Russian Soyuz 17 returned to Earth.

1984 – NBC Entertainment president, Brandon Tartikoff, gave an interviewer the “10 Commandments for TV Programmers.”

1989 – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. completed the $25 billion purchase of RJR Nabisco, Inc.

1997 – “The Simpsons” became the longest-running prime-time animated series. “The Flintstones” held the record previously.

2001 – “Hannibal,” the sequel to “Silence of the Lambs,” opened in theaters.

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