February was chosen as the month to celebrate black history because it encompassed the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, and Frederick Douglass, one of the greatest leaders of the abolitionist moment.
But one of the most significant events in the Civil Rights movement also took place in February, 16 years before Black History Week was expanded to a month: In February 1960, young African-Americans sat down at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. and changed the course of history.
It began with just four: Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr. and David Richmond. The next day, there were 29. On the fourth day, 300. The following week, the protests spread to cities across the south and by the end of February there were demonstrations in 30 cities in eight states. A month later – 55 cities in 13 states.
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