Commemoration 60th Anniversary of Historic Student Lunch Counter Sit-In Protest Movement
Some of the ASU student Lunch Counter Sit-In Movement protesters in 1960.
By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU.
The last week of Black History Month ends with an amazing and awesome blast from the past as a reunion of famously brave men who faced down state-sponsored Jim Crow segregation's evil, injustice and violence, will be honored and commemorated at a three-day, Alabama State University sponsored event, that is 60 years to the day of their famous sit-in protest of the segregated lunch counter at the Montgomery County Courthouse. This was Alabama's FIRST segregated lunch counter sit-in protest in history!
Join us on the second floor of ASU's Hardy Student Center on Feb. 24 - Feb. 26 as the surviving leaders and heroes of the 1960 Student Lunch Counter Sit-In Protest Movement speak publicly on what occurred to them 60 years ago, as well as hear the words of world-renowned civil rights attorney Fred Gray (ASU class of 1951) who was also present in a legal capacity.
The event is sponsored by the ASU Department of History and Political Science and the ASU College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. It is free and open to all.
'The ASU-Nine;' ASU student sit-in lunch counter protest leaders in 1960 at First Baptist Church.
DAY-ONE (FEB. 24) @ ASU
THE 1960 STUDENT PROTESTERS & ATTORNEY FRED GRAY COME BACK TO ASU 60 YEARS LATER
The first day of the event is an historic and important day filled with the known survivors of the protest and the most famous living civil rights attorney in America.
The morning session (9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.) features a keynote address from one of America's most famous living civil rights and Constitutional attorneys, Fred Gray (ASU class of 1951). Gray will discuss his historic representation of Dr. King, Rosa Parks and his eye-wittiness legal account of the 1960 ASU Student Sit-in Protest Movement. At the end of his presentation, he will take questions from the audience.
At the afternoon session (2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.) is a panel discussion with the five known surviving 1960 ASU student protesters, which includes: St. John Dixon, James McFadden, Joseph Peterson, Cornelius Benson, and Dr. Joe Reed Sr. They will recount the events that occurred before, during and after the Feb. 25, 1960 Lunch Counter Sit-In Protest at the Montgomery County Courthouse's lunch counter. From 3:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. they will answer questions from those in attendance.
Attorney Fred Gray (R) & his client Dr. King in 1956.
DAY-TWO (FEB. 25)
SCHOLARLY PAPER PRESENTATIONS
From 9 a.m. - Noon, the University will host a series of scholarly academic papers and discussions of the Sit-In Movement in a public forum.
DAY-THREE (Feb. 26)
PANEL: CURRENT LEADERS INCLUDING MYOR, COUNTY COMM. CHAIR, STATE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT & MORE
On its third and final day, modern leaders from government, education and the community come together to discuss what happened and its after effects, which still reverberate today. The panelists includes Montgomery's first (current) African-American mayor, Honorable Steven Reed; Montgomery's first (current) African-American County Commission chair, Honorable Elton Dean Sr.; Dr. Eric Mackey, state school superintendent; a representative of the Alabama Governor's Office, and more.
Please see the flyer below for more details and dates/times for the incredible and historic three-day event at ASU. A copy of it is attached below.
FACTS ABOUT THE 1960 ASU-LED STUDENT LUNCH COUNTER SIT-IN PROTEST
On February 25, 1960, 35 African- American men and women entered the Montgomery County Courthouse snack bar and asked to be served in violation of the state and city's Jim Crow segregation laws , which prohibited African-Americans from being served at "all white" segregated eateries. This was Alabama's first segregated lunch counter protest, which was inspired from an earlier protest held on Feb. 1, 1960 by students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College at the segregated lunch counter of Woolworth’s in Greensboro, NC. The civil rights protest in Montgomery was largely the work of students from Alabama State College (now Alabama State University) that is America's oldest "state-sponsored" historically black college or university (HBCU), which was founded in 1867 by nine freed slaves. The governor of Alabama in 1960 was John Patterson, who feared that ASU's student leaders would organize the HBCU for citywide civil rights protests. Because of his concern, Alabama's governor threatened and made ASU's president identify and expel any student involved with the protest saying that he would remove the school’s public funding unless the college's president bowed to his demands. The ASU President complied under duress. When sit-ins rocked southern cities and towns in early 1960, the students re-energized the struggle for civil rights. Their determination encouraged activists to organize in order to claim equal rights for all Americans.