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Word Count: 276
On Monday February 1 1960 four black freshmen from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro sat down at the whites-only lunch counter in Woolworths as the students had anticipated while planning the action in their dorm rooms they were refused service Although they could buy pencils or toothpaste black people were not allowed to eat in Woolworths But the four students stayed at the counter until closing time Word of their actions spread quickly and the next day they returned with over 2 dozen supporters On the third day students occupied 63 of the 66 lunch counter seats Scores of sympathizers overflowed Woolworths and started a sit-in down the street in SH Kress They weeks events made Greensboro notional news City officials looking to end the protest offered to negotiate in exchange for an end to demonstrations But white business leaders and politicians proved unwilling to change the racial status quo and the sit-ins resumed on April 1 In response to the arrest of 45 students for trespassing and outraged African American community organized an economic boycott of targeted stores The boycott cut deeply into merchants profits and Greensboros leaders reluctantly acceded On July 25 1960 the first African American ate a meal at Woolworths During the next 18 months 70000 people- most of them black students a few of them white allies-participated in sit-ins against segregation in dozens of communities More than 3000 were arrested African Americans had discovered a new form of direct action protest dignified and powerful which white people could not ignore The sit-in movement also transformed participants self-image empowering them psychologically and emotionally Franklin McCain one of the original four Greensboro students later recalled a great feeling of soul cleansing
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