50th anniversary of sit-ins

This year marks the 50th year anniversary of when seven students attending Florida A & M walked into Woolworth’s restaurant in downtown Tallahassee to order food, were refused service and arrested.Friday, Feb. 19 the re-enactment will take place at the quadrangle at 11:15 a.m. to commemorate the event. The demonstration will last about 15 minutes and will be immediately followed by a panel discussion in the Grand Ballroom.This event “is an opportunity for students and the community to learn about the proud accomplishments of African-Americans, Florida A & M University, and especially the heroic contributions FAMU students made to the local and national Civil Rights Movement,” said Murell Dawson, director of the Meek-Eaton Black Archives. “We are all enjoying the benefits of their sacrifices. Our students should know this history and we know that they will be inspired by it.”Students like Jaslyn Adams are excited to see history created. “To view for just a brief minute what the old days would be amazing,” said Jaslyn Adams, 19, a second- year pharmacy candidate from Balbosa, Ga. Aside from inspiration, some said that there also needs to be a bridging of today’s college students with yesteryears. “We need to connect with living history,” said Yanela Gordon, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication and event coordinator.On Feb. 20 1960, Priscilla and Patricia Stevens along with a few other students from FAMU sought to end segregation in Tallahassee.Inspired by a similar sit-in in Greensboro, N.C., where four black students at North Carolina A&T University organized a sit-in at a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, they decided it was time to make a change. Walking into the Woolworth’s, they knew exactly what to do, there was a sign that said, “Whites only.” That did not stop them. They ordered some cake and were refused service. After being refused, they quietly sat there until the police arrived and were arrested.It was possible for them to post bail but they wanted to make a point. They served 49 days in jail.50 years later FAMU will be celebrate the first Tallahassee sit-ins and jail-ins. Students are strongly encouraged to learn about black history.“Students need to be inspired and motivated by interacting with history,” said Gordon.