Google Doodle Honors 60th Anniversary of Greensboro Sit-In

Saturday's Google Doodle honored both Black History Month and the 60th Anniversary of the first Greensboro sit-in.

The doodle is a diorama of the four men, later known as the A&T Four or Greensboro Four, sitting at a Woolworth lunch counter to order a cup of coffee.

The doodle's artist, Karen Collins of the African American Miniature Museum, said she wanted her diorama to provide hope and teach a younger generation about their history.

"Creating art honoring the Greensboro sit-in (and the Civil Rights Movement it was part of) is my way of giving back to today's generation, especially to those who are in desperate times and troubles—to lift them up and teach them about their history," Collins told Google.

"I hope that everyone, especially young people, will go on to learn more about the sit-in and their personal histories as a whole," Collins continued. "A lot of people sacrificed and died for the freedoms we enjoy today, and we should remember that and honor them. My goal is to show the strength of the people. We are not weak. We can keep going and strive to do better. One day I hope to open a physical space for all the museum's dioramas so people and families of all backgrounds can come and learn about our history."

The Greensboro sit-in saw four young black students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University—Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr., and David Richmond—protesting segregation that ran rampant in Greensboro, North Carolina. The original four students' plan was that by repeating the process and drawing attention to the issue, Woolworth would be forced to desegregate.

The four students went to the Woolworth store in Greensboro and purchased toothpaste and other products from a desegregated counter. When they sat down at the "whites only" counter and ordered a cup of coffee, they were denied service. The four refused to leave. When they returned the next day, more than 20 black students joined the sit-in.

The Greensboro sit-ins were a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement, as they inspired thousands of others. By February 6, the sit-in grew to over a thousand students, while other cities in North Carolina staged similar protests.

The sit-ins ended on July 25, after boycotts cost the store over $200,000 in revenue. The Woolworth manager asked three black employees to change out of work clothes and order a meal at the lunch counter. Many stores in North Carolina desegregated after.

greensboro sit in
Black students during the Greensboro sit-in at the Woolworth. Getty