The International Civil Rights Center & Museum

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The International Civil Rights Center & Museum

Greensboro's International Civil Rights Museum - An Emotional Roller Coaster


To explain what you'll see at Greensboro's year-old International Civil Rights Museum, you first have to explain the story behind its inception. On February 1, I960, four freshmen from then ail black North Carolina A&T University placed an order at the Wool worth's lunch counter in downtown Greensboro. But, because of the fiercely segregated nature of the South, they were refused service Instead of leaving, the four continued to sit in a silent protest, enduring plenty of heckling in the process. The simple gesture of sitting became revolutionary in effect, as a firestorm of similar sit-ins spread across the Southeast. It's now viewed as a cornerstone in the Civil Rights Movement.

Fast forward 50 years to February 1, 2010, the day the old Wool worth's building was reopened as the International Civil Rights Museum. The old, L-shaped lunch counter still sits as it did back then, unmoved by time. It now serves as the centerpiece of the museum's 30.000 square feet of exhibition space it’s a fitting reminder that world-altering events can sometimes occur in the most ordinary of settings.

But the museum is more than just a lunch counter. It's an emotional roller coaster ride that's filled with more downs than ups. Using remastered images, heroic re-enactments, and Jim Crow-era artifacts, the museum guides guests back to the segregated South in the early 1960s. If nothing else, the museum is successful in documenting the struggles blacks faced to acquire even the most baste of rights- Candidly, you’ll see things that will steal the air right from your lungs things that will seemingly haunt you for a lifetime, Still, these are things that need to be seen, understood and remembered. As museum officials point out, "Some things should be left to history but never forgotten.'

The museum is at 134. S Elm St. in Greensboro. Tours range from $6-$ 10 depending on age (free for kids 5 and under). At this time, only guided tours we available. They depart every half hour and hit approximately an hour.

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum
134 S Elm St
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