Four North Carolina A&T State University students enter Woolworth’s and make small purchases, saving their receipts to prove they are customers. The take seats at the whites-only lunch counter. Denied service, they remain seated. Police arrive, but are unable to take action against the four students due to lack of provocation. Woolworth’s closes early to end the incident, but the Greensboro Four vow to return the next day.
The Greensboro Four return to Woolworth’s and sit at the lunch counter. Reporters and local TV news crews gather at the store. The intense television coverage helps spread the protest to High Point, NC by the next day.
By opening time, students are scrambling to get seats at Woolworth’s, but there is also a growing opposition of whites who taunt the demonstrators. National news begins to carry the story and the protests spread to Winston-Salem, NC.
Female students from Bennett College and as well as three white students from Greensboro Women’s College join the sit-in. The protests effectively paralyze Woolworth’s and other nearby businesses.
About 300 students are now protesting at Woolworth’s. The sit-in movement spreads to almost 40 other cities across the country.
An estimated 1,000 protesters and observers fill Woolworth’s. The sit-in spreads to the nearby Kress department store, bringing downtown Greensboro to a virtual standstill. Both Woolworth’s and Kress close early after receiving a bomb threat.
A&T students vote to suspend demonstrations to give city and store officials a chance to comply. Negotiations fail, and students resume the sit-in.
Woolworth’s integrates its lunch counter.