Sitting for Equal Service

Lunch Counter Sit-Ins, United States, 1960s

From the Series Civil Rights Struggles around the World

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 9

“We were hoping [the sit-in] would catch on and it would spread throughout the country, but it went even beyond our wildest imagination.”―Ezell Blair Jr., North Carolina Agricultural & Technical college student

On February 1, 1960, four black college students sat down at the whites-only lunch counter in a Woolworth’s department store in Greensboro, North Carolina. The young men knew the waitress couldn’t take their order because of the store’s segregationist policies. But the young men hadn’t come to eat―they had come to make a peaceful stand for equality.

At this time in the southern United States, a long-standing tradition of segregation prohibited blacks from sharing public spaces―schools, swimming pools, hotels, waiting rooms, bathrooms, and restaurants―with whites. The Greensboro students were inspired by previous sit-in protests, and they decided to sit at the lunch counter day after day, refusing to leave until they received service.

In this story of individual courage and determination, we’ll see how the Greensboro sit-in ignited the fight for African American civil rights among thousands of fellow students―both black and white―and triggered sit-ins at segregated lunch counters throughout the South. We’ll also learn how the sit-in spurred other group protests, such as the Freedom Rides, and how the protestors’ efforts eventually led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, forbidding segregation in public facilities across the nation.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 9
Genre Nonfiction, Social Studies, Young Adult
Category Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity
Copyright 2011
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 160
Publication Date 2010-08-01
BISACS YAN025220, YAN038110
Dewey 323.1196'073
Graphics 1-color illustrations, Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 6 x 8.5
Lexile 1100
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Maps, Photo captions, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, and Timeline


  • Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Young Adult Top Forty, Winner, 2011


School Library Journal, Series Made Simple

“These volumes are a treasure trove of information about the fight for civil rights across time and the globe. . . . The cruelty with which humans can treat one another is unflinchingly presented but the extraordinary grace exhibited in the face of it rises to the top.” —School Library Journal, Series Made Simple

Author: Melody Herr