October 22: CHEF
Okay, so the Black man behind the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, NC, in February of 1960 is probably not a chef. You might call him a “soda jerk” or maybe he’s a busboy. Whatever, he’s working there. But the four guys on the other side (Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, William Smith, and Clarence Henderson) are NOT supposed to be there. This is day two of the sit-ins that would protest the segregationist policies of Woolworth and the South. The other two members of the “Greensboro Four,” David Richmond and Ezell Blair Jr., are not in this picture, but together they helped spread the “sit-in” movement of the Civil Rights era.
Can you imagine walking into an establishment that actively prohibits your presence, then sitting down at the lunch counter and ordering food while other patrons jeer at you and assault you? My god, these people were courageous. And you know what? That lunch counter is preserved in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.