Living in this moment in 2016, surrounded by continued minority mistreatment in the media and in real-life scenarios, it is hard for me to imagine what it might have been like back in 1960 in Atlanta. It is also hard to imagine what it might have been like in the rest of Georgia since the rest of Georgia was more rural at that time. It is hard to imagine that things were worse, much worse even. Just as it is thought of today, Atlanta was thought to be “one of the most progressive cities in the South” in 1960. Even though it was thought to be progressive and going in the right direction, there were still problems that seemed so very hypocritical to the people.
In other cities in the South, there had been successful student movements in the realm of lunch counter sit-ins. Lunch counters, almost obscure these days, were like small diners or eateries inside department stores. When I think of the lunch counter sit-ins, I think of Diane Nash, a student in Nashville that became famous during the Nashville sit-ins.
When I think of the Atlanta sit-ins (since I have heard that there were, in fact, sit-ins in Atlanta), I draw a blank. I have never even heard of really anything about the Atlanta sit-ins. This is really strange to me because I even took a class at my university focusing on the major Civil Rights movements. The main thing that I have really heard about Atlanta is that it was the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that I do know, and he really was a very famous person and one of my personal inspirations and role models.
For this blog post, I am going to try to give a general description and sequence of events of what happened during the student movement and sit-ins in Atlanta. This blog post is my first post of about four (maybe more) posts where I am going to just find out anything I can about the Atlanta student movement and sit-ins, write about my findings, and make it all known to my readers. This sequence of blog posts is for a class that I am taking, and it is all supposed to build into something bigger, so that is what I am hoping to do here.
According to a source, It all started with an article titled, “An Appeal for Human Rights,” written by students, which was headlined in the local newspapers on March 9, 1960. It was run in all three of the Atlanta newspapers. It was known as a manifesto and it covered all of the things that the students wanted and demanded (mainly desegregation and equal rights) to be done to resolve this human rights issue in Atlanta. They formed a group that was known as Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COAHR). According to a source, this committee was supposed to negotiate with local businesses and establishments, but the negotiations were not really successful with no compromise or resolution.
The sit-ins of the student movement in Atlanta began, according to the same source, on March 15, 1960. There were around 200 students who participated and disbursed to lunchrooms and cafeterias, even at “the State Capitol, City Hall, and Fulton County Courthouse.”
According to a source, The Rich’s lunch counter sit-in happened on October 19, 1960. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. attended and was arrested promptly. According to a source, about 300 students were also arrested. This is said to be King’s first night spent in jail. A DeKalb County, Georgia judge sent King to prison in Reidsville, Georgia after ruling that King’s arrest was a violation of his probation.
It is pretty amazing to me that these student groups were the main momentum behind actually getting things desegregated and getting stuff done! It makes me feel empowered since I am also a student. I feel like this is very relevant to today as well with current civil and human rights issues with race relations and gay rights. The fight for human and civil rights never ended and will continue as long as there is momentum. The students tend to still take action these days. I have even seen students from my university write up a list of demands. It is always important to voice your opinion when there is oppression.
I invite you to revisit my blog during the course of this semester to see what my research brings about. I want to find out some stuff that is not all over the internet and in all of the other articles online. I also anticipate to try to find out more about some of the students that worked hard for the Atlanta student movement and sit-ins because their story needs to be told. I welcome any ideas about further research, comments, and any feedback. Check out my contact information for more options. I would really appreciate it.