2022 Gala Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John L. Swaine
Civil Rights Museum Will Commemorate the July 25, 1960, Woolworth’s Desegregation With an Extended Weekend of Celebration
Greensboro, N.C. — Devoted advocates for social justice have been inspired by the enduring contributions of the “A&T Four,” who first sat in at the F.W. Woolworth’s “whites-only” lunch counter on Feb. 1, 1960, leading to its racial integration after six months of quietly persisting demonstrations carried on primarily by rising numbers of young people. This year the International Civil Rights Center & Museum is celebrating this cornerstone of the Civil Rights Movement with its annual fund-raising Gala on Monday, July 25, and with the Dr. George Simkins Annual Golf Classic on Friday, the 22nd.
As a key part of the Gala occasion, the assembled supporters of the Civil Rights Museum will experience a video presentation by Vice President Kamala Harris, who is being recognized as an honorary civil rights trailblazer.
During these events, the Museum will acknowledge not only the non-violent activists who sustained the Greensboro Sit-Ins for six months until the lunch counter was formally desegregated, but local and national activists who have made significant contributions to advancing civil and human rights since then. Their work shows how communities might bridge the generations of social justice movements. The change in scheduling for the Gala, from the usual Feb. 1 focus, to the 62nd Anniversary of the day when the lunch counter was racially integrated on July 25, offers the opportunity for civil rights supporters to take note of the wide range of participants who have added their passion and skills to the ever-broadening struggle for human dignity and equal civic belonging.
At the Gala on July 25, in addition to Vice President Harris’s remarks, the Museum will share its gratitude in honoring the celebrated civil rights activist, the Rev. Dr. James Lawson with the Alston-Jones International Civil and Human Rights Award. Benjamin Crump will be given the Unsung Hero Award. Our Community Service Award will go to Rabbi Fred Guttman. Retired judicial commissioner Marilyn Mackel will receive the Sit-In Participant Award. And political commentator and attorney Bakari Sellers will be presented with the Keeper of the Flame Award.
We invite the public to join us in embracing this significant moment of victory on this date six decades ago during the era of Jim Crow segregation. Honoring the struggle, tenacity, and courage of the Sit-In Movement may capture the most arduous parts of the story. And, as a nation, we need to be regularly reminded of the ongoing struggle, but we should also remember the day when a significant goal was won.
The International Civil Rights Center & Museum’s 2022 Gala will be held on July 25, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. at the Koury Convention Center. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with sufficient time to verify attendees’ Covid-19 negative-test status and/or check vaccination cards. Interested corporate sponsors may still visit our website at www.sitinmovement.org/2022-civil-rights-gala to learn more about sponsorship opportunities. Individual tickets for in-person participation are available for $150, and tickets for the virtual experience can be purchased for $50. Accommodating the unprecedented pandemic challenges, we will take all appropriate public health precautions, as befits the fulfillment of our mission, while persisting in our goal of honoring some of our country’s most worthy social justice activists.
The fund-raising Simkins Golf Classic, to be held at Forest Oaks County Club, honors the legacy of the “Greensboro Six,” whose claims for equal access to a racially segregated federally funded golf course resulted in a significant advance in open public accommodations. Registration can still be made for the July 22 event at: www.sitinmovement.org. Early bird Sponsorships are available until July 11, along with individual player tickets. Peak athletic aptitude is not expected.