Sit-in angers students

Lauren Roberts

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Walking into the Mesquite dining hall Monday afternoon, students were met with a large sign reading “White seating only.” Confusion, anger and disregard were some emotions students felt. A sit-in was taking place to commemorate the Greensboro, North Carolina sit-in for the NAACP freedom fighters week.

The Greensboro sit-in was not the first but was instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement. The non-violent protest was organized by college students. Freshmen, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr., and David Richmond, from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University sat at the white’s only lunch counter and were refused service.

The NAACP hosted a Sit-In Demonstration Mon. Feb 14. Jasmine Staton, Senior in Psychology, and Olivia Whitley, Senior in International Studies, demonstrate the rebellion of blacks during the Civil Right Movement. "The whole goal was to bring the reality of segregation home, to MSU," Whitley said.  Photo by Mirae Duncan

The NAACP hosted a Sit-In Demonstration Mon. Feb 14. Jasmine Staton, Senior in Psychology, and Olivia Whitley, Senior in International Studies, demonstrate the rebellion of blacks during the Civil Right Movement. “The whole goal was to bring the reality of segregation home, to MSU,” Whitley said. Photo by Mirae Duncan

They stayed there until the store closed. By the fourth day more than 400 people had joined in the protest. The black students were heckled by the white customers as they studied and read books. As per the store policy they were refused service the entire time.

Many students did not know that the mock sit-in was taking place in Mesquite dining hall.

Jasmyn Brown, junior, said, “Why don’t they just beat us too, so we can really remember it.”

Olivia Whitley, senior in international studies, said, “That quote makes me uneasy. What it says to me is they don’t take history with them. Forty-50 years ago, most of our grandparents lived through this. There are people still living that went through this.”

Whitley said people try to distance themselves and think that segregation happened a long time ago and it no longer affects them.

Matt Park, dean of students, said, “I’m proud that the students in the NAACP held the sit-in and that they tried to provide some education behind it to help bring some awareness to the issue. I think that it is good that there is controversy on a college campus.”

The next day the NAACP sponsored a voter registration booth to sign-up eligible students to vote and gave them information on the current gubernational election. They also wanted to remind people that this is an election year.

Whitley said, “Even though we are not voting for a president this is still an important election for Texans. Especially for Midwestern students because whoever we bring into be the new Governor will be responsible for changes in the educational system which trickles down to affect our tuition rates, how much money we get from the state, financial aid you can receive, and anything important  to college student is important to the Governor.”

The sit-in is important to remind students of a time when rights were not given to everyone. The right to vote is something that students in the 1960s had to fight for.

Whitley said the voter rights acts of 64 and 65 coincided with de-segregation and efforts that all happened at the same time. Sit-ins were for equality, not just for the cafeterias or luncheon, but for equality in voting, the criminal justice system and life as an American.

STAFF EDITORIAL: “NAACP sit-in falls short

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