Sit-inS: By: Maddie Blinkman

History about Sit-ins and how they started:

  • In North Carolina these four African American boys went to get some coffee. They were refused service because of there race. During this time race was a really big problem and opposite races didn't care and didn't like each other. One day all because of racism these four boys started something called Sit-ins. Sit-ins is a non-violent protest (though at times it would become violent) in which participants would refuse to move till there wishes were granted. Sit-ins were trying to accomplish the amount of racism going around and to make it equal for everyone else. Both white and african american's were apart of this because each race wanted something different and they protested for there freedoms and rights that they deserve. The most important people who helped this process was Martin Luther King Jr. because he created different acts and helped spread the word with his speech "I have a dream". The only problem was no one could get along and there were obstacles making it difficult for them to make a change whether that had to do with any race. With this many acts and boards were created in help of protesting and making freedom and rights fair for everyone. This still exists today and it will be brought up in the presentation. There are also going to be three main events talked to that have happened today that relate to sit-ins. They might not be the same but it's a form of protesting and trying there best to get what they deserve and fighting for what they want.

In the video above it talks about the story stated above.

  • What lead to this event happening? Racism lead to this event because it was a form of protest in which participants sit and refuse to move. It started in North Carolina when this 4 boys went in to get some coffee but they refused to serve them so they sat there and waited to be waited on and that’s when the sit-in was started and was born.
  • Fun fact: The picture shows the place where the 4 boys were refused service in North Carolina! This place was called F.W. Woolworth Company
  • When and where did this happen? This happened in different places mainly in the South. But, the first sit-in encounter was in North Carolina. This was happening a lot and it was to prove a point that we should all have equal rights. Other sit-ins started up in South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, Alabama, Virginia, and Florida. They spread in March to Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Georgia and later to West Virginia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri.
  • Fun fact: Sit-ins still exist today just in different forms of ways. You don't typically see racism sit-ins today.
  • What was the event trying to accomplish? This event was trying to accomplish equal right for everyone and not having separate places for african americans and white people. Also, to change the communities with local coordinated action.

Above is a documentary on the sit-ins (I liked it. I learned a lot). It brings up the 4 young gentlemen who started this whole thing.

  • Demographics? The people participating in the sit- ins was mainly African Americans because they were treated unfairly. They had to stand on the bus if there wasn’t enough room for the white people. They had to sit somewhere else when going to eat. Everything was separate and not right for African Americans. African Americans would get arrested for protesting but that’s in a way illegal because if they aren’t hurting anything they have the right to free speech and speaking up for themselves since no one is going to help them. The white community was also involved because some felt as if they didn’t have enough rights or what they wanted. On the other side of things, white people also would be mean and throw coffee in there face, spitting on them, yanking them around and being violent towards them, etc. It just depend on the situation and who was protesting.
  • What important people were involved in your event and how did they impact the event? One important person who helped with spreading the word and helping the protesting (sit-ins) was Martin Luther King Jr. He was apart of it because he advocated for non-violent protest against segregation and African Americans rights. He impacted this event because he wanted to change the outcome of people who were being “bullied” and taken advantage of because of their race. Martin Luther King Jr. also created/ helped created the SNCC event or the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Which started to impact/ change the movements of young civil rights activists.
  • Like stated above Martin Luther King Jr. was a big part in the sit-ins because of his race and wanting to stand up for his community and what he wanted too. Freedom and rights!
  • Martin Luther King was a baptist preach and civil rights leader who advocated nonviolent protesting against segregation.
  • He was later assassinated in 1968 by James Earl Ray
  • What kind of obstacles were these groups facing? African Americans were facing many obstacles while protesting. They were treated violently and no one really took them serious. Cops were even coming after them for protesting. African Americans protested without violence and it didn’t seem like it was working because everyone (being the white race) came after them for standing up for what they want and what they deserve. Also, African Americans couldn’t get jobs as easy as white’s could. African Americans were just not respected as much as everyone else.
  • How did they overcome these obstacles? Eventually the sit-ins and other forms of protest started to kick off the start of changing the way of how people of different races are. They started by creating the Brown vs. Board of Education which ended segregation in schools. The person who helped create this event was Earl Warren who is a supreme court chief. Another event that helped with the obstacles of sit-ins was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which ended discrimination in public places and unemployment based on race, religion, or natural origin. This made it less difficult for African Americans when they were protesting. Unfortunately racism still exists today so it’s not going to go away it will exist forever no matter what.

How did this event impact today and what are the lasting effects? People still protest for lots of things today. It hasn’t stopped. People protest for more pay in their jobs, equal rights, and more. It still continues to be difficult for African Americans to get jobs because of race and other things. I have witnessed a sit-in before outside a company saying he isn’t going to work until they treat everyone fairly and pay everyone what they deserve. The outcome of sit-ins was the fact that it produced a new sense of pride and power to the African Americans race. Sit-ins don’t typically exist anymore today most ended/ opt out in the 1960’s. This then created new ways of protesting and new ways to deal with racial profiling and segregation.

This is during the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. People wanting to stop the Access Pipeline and trying to get rid of it.
In the pictures below will be showing the 3 main events I found that is related/ relevant to sit-ins. How what happens today can be tied into the civil event sit-ins.

One modern day event related to sit-ins includes the Women's March on Washington. Every year this happens January 21st for women's rights. People are serious when they go to these things but there are funny signs that some people make to get there point across.

Another protest related to sit-ins would be the gun control protest. Democrats were going against republicans and there ban of gun's. The democrats were sitting in the building of the republicans and causing drama. After about a day they ended there sit-in. So you could say it was a sit-in of them waiting till what they got. They stayed for a day to get the idea out and to put there opinion and there rights out for everyone to hear.

The last event that I believe is one of the biggest protests was the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Dakota Access Pipeline was an oil pipeline about 1,172 miles long. It went into North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. People were protesting this because it could cause oil spills in there lakes. With that it can affect the drinking water and cultural sites. People stayed for more than 6 months and cops would keep arresting and harassing them. Shown in the video above when talking about the pipeline.

Works Cited:

  • The Sit-In Movement. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2017, from
  • Electronic Library for Minnesota. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2017, from
  • Walsh, D., Raju, M., Bradner, E., & Sloan, S. (2016, June 24). Democrats end House sit-in protest over gun control. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from
  • Iannelli, N. (2017, April 20). On 4/20, DC pot advocates plan provocative protests. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from
  • Solis, S. (2017, February 23). Last of Dakota Pipeline protesters ordered to leave Thursday. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from

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