Challenge the Status Quo, Change the World

In: ideas

1 Feb 2010

Exactly 50 years ago today, four college students sat down to eat lunch. And changed the world.

On February 1, 1960, these young black men walked into a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina, and took seats at the whites-only lunch counter. Denied service, they refused to budge and left only when the store closed at the end of the day. The next day they were back with 27 more students. Within four days, 300. And soon, 1000.

Similar sit-ins starting popping up throughout the state, then all over the South. It spread from lunch counters to buses and parks and other public places. The media started to write about it. Government officials took notice. Combined with the brave actions of others in the Civil Rights Movement, momentum continued to build. Within four years, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 officially put an end to segregation in public places.

One of the men, Franklin McCain, recalled:

“Fifteen seconds after … I had the most wonderful feeling. I had a feeling of liberation, restored manhood. I had a natural high. And I truly felt almost invincible. Mind you, [I was] just sitting on a dumb stool and not having asked for service yet,” McCain says.


Coming up with the idea of a sit-in wasn’t brave. Actually doing it was.

When the status quo is challenged, not just with ideas but with action, great things can happen.

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Mark Webster

About Mark Webster

One of the Co-Founders of SideTour, former TechStar (NYC Summer 2011), ex-NBA'er, and past TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Winner.