Actions Speak Louder Than Words

On Monday, February 1, 1960, Ezell Blair Jr., Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond bravely walked into F.W. Woolworth in Greensboro, North Carolina and demanded that they be served lunch.  When the four boys arrived around 4:30pm, they purchased some small articles from a counter near the lunch bar and then took seats at the lunch counter. 


Dialogue of the initial conversation between Blair and the waitress:

Blair: "I'd like a cup of coffee, please."
Waitress: "I'm sorry.  We don't serve colored here."
Blair: "I beg to disagree with you.  You just finished serving me at a counter only two feet from here."
Waitress: "Negroes eat on the other end."
Blair: "What do you mean?  This is a public place, isn't it?  If it isn't, then why don't you sell membership cards?  If you do that, then I'll understand that this is a private concern."
Waitress: "Well you won't get any service here!"

After Blair and the waitress had this conversation, the boys were approached by a Negro girl, who happened to work as a helper at Woolworth's, said to Blair, "You are stupid, ignorant!  You're dumb!  That's why we can't get anywhere today.  You know you are supposed to eat at the other end."  However, an elderly white woman who was in Woolworth's that day thought differently.  She whispered to the boys, "You should have done it ten years ago!"

Following this  statement, the Greensboro Four stayed determined and kept sitting at the lunch counter.  The boys would ask questions to the workers and they would be ignored as if they weren't even there.  T
hey were also heckled by a black dishwasher.  McNeil told the waitress that they would sit there until they were served.  He was ignored after that comment as well.

Shortly after, policeman came into Woolworth and stared at the boys as they patrolled up and down the aisle, hoping to frighten them away.  The four boys finally got up and left when the store manager turned off the lights at 5:30pm, half an hour before closing time.  However, before leaving, the boys requested to speak to the manager.  They were ignored and their request was denied.


On Tuesday, February 3, the boys were joined by approximately twenty-nine other students.  They arrived at F.W. Woolworth's at 10:30am and took seats at the lunch counter.  The students stayed there the entire day and never received service.  Blair stated that the demonstration was originally planned to last only two or three weeks, but that now, "We are preparing to continue to sit for as long as is necessary - until we're served."