F.W. Woolworth Store

After demands for the desegregation of commercial businesses went unanswered, the NAACP decided to engage in direct action. On May 29, 1963, three Tougaloo students – Anne Moody, Pearlena Lewis, and Memphis Norman – entered the back door of Woolworth’s and sat down at the lunch counter. When they tried to order refreshments, they were told to go to the Negro section. White students from nearby Central High School came in and assailed the group with racial epithets. Several customers subjected them to three hours of hostility and abuse. Norman was pulled to the floor, kicked and beaten. After the group was joined by white supporters, Joan Trumpauer and professors Lois Chafee and John Salter from Tougaloo College, the crowd continued to scream insults and poured mustard, ketchup, pepper, and water on the group. Outside the store, Tougaloo President Daniel Beittel attempted to get the police to stop the beatings. Finally, the store closed and the protesters were taken to jail. The Jackson sit-in movement became a subject of national interest, attracting the attention of Roy Wilkins and other NAACP luminaries, many of whom came to Jackson and participated in picketing and other sit-ins at Capitol Street businesses.

Sources:

“Civil Rights Driving Tour of Hinds County”produced by the Associated Press, Tougaloo College, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Development Authority (Tourism Division).