The Greensboro Four: Teenagers who led the Civil Rights Movement

Greensboro Four

On February 1st, 1960, four teenagers, freshmen at the local college, sat at a lunch counter and asked to order a cup of coffee. They were never served. The next day, they were joined by 25 other college students. On the third day, more than 60 came. On the fourth day, more than 300.

If you do not know the story of the Greensboro Four, I encourage you to learn about them and to share the story with the youth in your church – and adults as well. These four young black men, 17 and 18 years old, did not need leaders or organizations. They decided amongst themselves to take the first step of staging a sit-in at the local Woolworth’s lunch counter. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came from these protests, and not the other way around.

February, as you know, is Black History Month, but this story is invaluable to share any time. Don’t be surprised if this is a surprise to your youth. A couple of years ago, I visited the Ford Museum in Michigan which has re-created a bus terminal with its “Whites Only” and “Colored” section. As I walked through the room, I heard a young man behind me say, “That really happened? That’s messed up!” It may astonish them to know that, not only did it really happen, but there are many people still alive who saw it first hand. This is not ancient history; it’s a history that still lives on today, as we see daily.

There is an hour long documentary about the Greensboro Four available online called February One. Find more information for discussion on their website. And take a look at the preview below.