Locals Say Durham Civil Rights History Overlooked

It's -not- the most famous sit-in from the civil rights era. But some in Durham believe an incident 50 years ago yesterday should get more credit.

It happened at Royal Ice Cream. That's where seven blacks were denied service because they were seated in a room designated for whites only.

The incident resulted in arrests, trials, convictions for trespassing, appeals that reached the U-S Supreme Court, and fines of 25 each.

It occurred two years before the famed sit-in at a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, which made national news and inspired the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Virginia L. Williams, now 70, was one of the seven. She says the sit-in at Royal Ice Cream at the least started people thinking about what was right and wrong with society.

Royal Ice Cream eventually closed and was razed last year. Efforts to get a historical marker placed there have failed.

Still, people here say they hope to commemorate the sit-in some way.


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