Sit-ins were a direct result of the civil rights movement that began in the 1960s. Sit-Ins are, by definition:
1. any organized protest in which a group of people peacefully occupy and refuse to leave the premises.
2. an organized passive protest, especially against racial segregation, in which demonstrators occupy seats prohibited to them, as in restaurants and other public places.
Although sit-ins began as a way to bring attention to the fact that all men are created equal and should be treated as such, other social platforms soon began using them as a means to get the word out about their causes. Many political, social and economic changes were brought to fruition as a result of this peaceful means of protest.
By 1960, the civil rights movement was front and center in the United States.
At first, sit-ins were considered to be an unnecessary nuisance by many. It wasn’t long before authorities realized that these peaceful protesters would not be ignored and/or go away without being recognized. These protesters mainly included the demographic of college students and other young people. They began in the South but soon were popping up all over the country.
The earliest sit-ins were staged in an attempt to end racial segregation in public places.
The first documented sit-in was held on February 1, 1960. Four black students from North Carolina went into the Woolworth Drug Store in downtown Greensboro and sat down at the lunch counter. When they were refused service because of their race, they decided that they would not leave without being heard. Despite harsh treatment and threats of bodily harm, they didn’t cause an unruly ruckus. The group of young men sat patiently and were heard by their actions instead of their words.