BEYOND THE BARRIERS

By David Daggett

 My wife and I were honored to attend the elegant and festive 59th anniversary gala celebrating the opening of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro. The presentations at the gala were an important reminder that the Civil Rights movement is ongoing and that our communities still have challenges that urgently need to be addressed.

The event honored several heroic individuals who have devoted their lives to continuing the work and upholding the spirit of the “Greensboro Four” by promoting civil rights and social justice for all.

Each honoree has led a life of service to humanity and sets an incredible example for each of us. They remind me that society can never become complacent. We must continue to learn from history in order to advance and protect our collective values.

As residents of the Triad, we are incredibly fortunate to have such an important and impactful museum right in our backyard. The museum is located in the former F.W. Woolworth building in downtown Greensboro where freshman North Carolina A&T State University students started the sit-in movement by sitting at a “whites only” lunch counter on February 1, 1960.

The first day there were four students. The second day there were 20. To say that this movement spread is an understatement. The actions of these students inspired countless others to protest segregation in our nation, and helped to inspire and further the Civil Rights movement.

Even in today’s tumultuous world, inspiration can be drawn from the heroic actions of the Greensboro Four.

The story of the four young North Carolina A&T students is a shining example of how standing up – or sitting down – in the name of your beliefs can carry a message beyond the limits of your own reach. It can inspire a whole movement to create a more just and equal society for generations to come.

We look forward to attending next year when the gala will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Woolworth sit-ins, the accomplishments of the movement thus far, and the ongoing work toward the American value of Justice for All.

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