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Posts Tagged ‘museum

the morning cram [no going home edition]

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Areas of Northern Japan may be hazardous for years.

NPR reports areas around the Fukushima power plant may be uninhabitable for a long time.

Kentucky~  Murray State was named to the World’s Best Colleges list for the 21st time in a row.  Nine Amish men are going to jail in Graves County. WKCTC named one of the 10 best Community Colleges in the nation. Bill Monroe’s birthday is today and they’re celebrating big time at the International Bluegrass Museum. The Commonwealth focuses on cleaning up next week.

Tennessee~ Clarksville announces a transitional house for homeless veterans. The Tennessee State Library has discovered documents from white soldiers serving in a black regiment in the Civil War.

Black History Month: the Greensboro Sit-ins

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by Angela Hatton

February 1 marked the golden anniversary of the Greensboro sit-ins. Four African-American young men walked up to a Woolworth’s lunch counter an hour before closing time and asked for service. They were denied, but they stayed until close of business. The groups action launched a string of sit-ins across the country by both black and white supporters of the Civil Right movement. Six months later, Woolworth’s integrated their lunch counter, and the actions of the sit-in participants were heralded as a landmark non-violent protest.

Below is a picture of the Woolworth’s lunch counter in the Smithsonian American History Museum in Washington D. C. Todd and I saw this relic from the Civil Rights Movement when we visited there last week. Nothing in the Smithsonian’s statements say this is a reproduction, so I am assuming this is an actual slice from the counter. However, if anyone knows for sure, feel free to dispute that statement.

 This week, the International Civil Rights Center & Museum opened in Greensboro on the anniversary of the first sit-in. Launching the museum has been a challenge in itself; NPR covered the story

With all the attention around this event, I’ve thought more about what it might have been like to be at Woolworth’s on that day.  While I can’t say the below is a completely historically accurate depiction (warning: may contain anachronisms), it is at least inspired by history.

Greensboro, Fifty Years Later

First day of the shortest month, they began the longest wait with a breezy 
             idea: time for a cup, a bit of pick-me-up.
They swung into seats set up pink, blue, pink, blue, leaned their elbows on 
            the Formica and asked for four, black, with sugar on the side.
No dice; the waiter flipped past them like a boring newspaper page, and 
            zipped to the end of the line to fill an empty glass.
Someone sidled up (not too close) and grunted, “Ya’ll gotta go,” but they 
            were stone, hunched over with nothing to protect.
A man slammed his burger half-eaten on his plate, chucked a pocketful of
            change on the counter, and cut out.
A woman steered her children towards, then away, her heels clip-clopping
            double-time over their dismay. 
The steam from the coffee, the smell of the fries, the gluttonous motion of
            syrup slobbered over sundaes not for them, indictments all—
Chicken bones swung before a rangy, mangy dog. But they spread their
            shoulders, making their coats like the capes on watchmen, set to 
            guard the walls until  
Closing time and they slipped from their seats and out the door, surprised
           they were still alive, and knowing they’d be back tomorrow and 
           tomorrow.
A busboy wiped their scent from the vinyl stools; a slight impression
           lingered in the foam.

Half a century later, a section stays behind glass, four seats where no one
           sits. Shutters snap  family photos, a memory for the scrapbook.
Before we know this, we swing in your mother’s stools, trying to spin      
           ourselves sick. You scream, I scream for ice cream.
Little giggle-boxes naïve that they are two mismatched scoops: we beg for
            extra cherries on top.

Written by Angela Hatton

February 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm