Women in the 1960-63 Sit-Ins Discussion (Jan/Feb 1997)
Query From Barbara R. Isaacs email@example.com 27 Jan 1997
I am writing a historiographical essay on the invisibility of women's voices in the early lunch counter sit-ins. I am particularly focusing on the participation of women students from the college campuses in Greensboro, NC; Lynchburg, VA; Columbia, SC; and Macon, GA. I would appreciate any sources addressing this issue.
>From Elisabeth I. Perry firstname.lastname@example.org 28 Jan 1997
Be sure not to miss the earlier lunch-counter sit-ins of 1943-44 in Washington, D.C., led by women students from Howard University. Pauli Murray wrote of these events in her wonderful autobiography now available through U of Tennessee Press; _Pauli Murray: The Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest and Poet_, ch.17
>From Carole Bucy email@example.com 28 Jan 1997
I recommend that you expand your study to include the Nashville sit-ins led by a coalition of students, male and female, from Tennessee State U, Fisk U and Vanderbilt. One of the episodes of the PBS series _Eye On The Prize_ is entitled "Ain't Scared of Your Jails." This episode begins with 15-20 minutes on the Nashville sit-ins and includes an interview with Diane Nash, the African-American student who confronted the Mayor on the courthouse steps. She now lives in Chicago. There are a few women here in Nashville who were professors at Tennessee State and Fisk during the sixties and active in the civil rights movement. If you are interested in pursuing these women, I can help you get in touch with them.
>From Cindy Derrow firstname.lastname@example.org 28 Jan 1997
I recently visited the new Civil Rights museum in Savannah, Georgia on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. I believe they had video-taped interviews with women who were involved in lunch counter sit-ins as well as in other civil rights activities in Savannah. You might want to contact them to see what type of additional resources they have.
>From Tiffany Key Wayne email@example.com 29 Jan 1997
Regarding lunch counter sit-ins, no one has mentioned Anne Moody's account of her own experience in _Coming of Age in Mississippi_. Moody attended Tougaloo and discusses the differential treatment of men and women at the Woolworth's counter sit-in she participated in. Their group included two black women (inc. Moody) and two white women.
>From Louise S. Robbins firstname.lastname@example.org 29 Jan 1997
I have just sent off a manuscript about 3 women, one white 59-year-old librarian and two young African-American school teachers who went into a Bartlesville, Oklahoma drug store in 1950, and asked to be served. They w ere members of the only Congress of Racial Equality affiliate south of the Mason-Dixon line. The librarian lost her job over it (and her other activities on behalf of integration) although what they charged her with was having subversive materials )_Nation_ and _New Republic_ especially) in the library. Even her friends minimized the racial aspects of the case when they fought on her behalf, emphasizing instead the censorship aspects. The CORE papers (at State Historical Society of Wisconsin, but available, I believe, in microfilm) have much about this case, and possibly others preserved in correspondence.
>From Laura Sinclair Odelius email@example.com 29 Jan 1997
Saw a possible lead for you, in of all places, _Guideposts_magazine, February 1997. The story is "Beyond the Protests" co-written by Gloria Busch Johnson and Robert Funk of Aitken County, South Carolina (civil rights marcher and southern cop who later get beyond prejudices and become friends). According to the article, Gloria Busch Johnson entered South Carolina State College at Orangeburg in 1959--she mentions several marches including pickets of the local bowling alley and lunch counters; don't know if she ever actually sat-in. Try contacting the Guideposts Editorial Office: 16 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016. They also have a web page: http://www.guideposts.org
>From Mary Melcher MSMelcher@aol.com 11 Feb 1997
I conducted an oral history project on the civil rights movement in Phoenix, Arizona and interviewed a woman named Barbara Callahan who organized college students to sit in at lunch counters in 1960. She is described briefly in an article I published, "Blacks and Whites Together: Interracial Leadership in the Phoenix Civil Rights Movement," in the summer 1991 issue of _The Journal of Arizona History_. The movement in Phoenix encountered no violence and the day the students sat-in they were served. They helped to break down segregation in public facilities in Phoenix. This segregation was officially ended by a city council decision in 1964.