Sit-In Movement (01:24)
In 1960, four black college students sat down at a Greensboro lunch counter and refused to leave—starting a wave of nonviolent protests. View archive footage of demonstrators.
Nashville Segregation (02:16)
View footage of Mayor Ben West. Despite a progressive reputation, the city was segregated in 1960. Resident Leo Lillard recalls separate drinking fountains.
Nonviolence Workshops (02:16)
Nashville's black colleges attracted young people from across the nation. Fisk student Diane Nash resented segregation; view footage of James Lawson training students in direct action tactics.
Nashville Sit-Ins (02:05)
John Lewis and Diane Nash recall sitting at whites only lunch counters. Locals believed they were outside agitators.
Segregation Confrontation (02:14)
View archive footage of gangs attacking Nashville students during a February 27 sit in. Police arrested 80 protestors for disorderly conduct.
Moral Challenge (02:23)
Sit-ins forced Nashville residents to confront segregation. Students were found guilty of disorderly conduct; most chose to serve jail time rather than pay fines.
Nashville Easter Boycott (02:18)
Black parents worried arrest records could hurt their children's future. Learn how they stopped supporting downtown businesses to pressure the mayor to desegregate.
National Boycott (01:44)
Sit-ins spread to 69 cities. Chain stores supporting segregation were picketed in the north. Lillard describes discouraging black Nashville residents from breaking the boycott.
Violence against Protestors (03:07)
Learn how residents participating in the Nashville boycott were attacked. Student defense lawyer Z. Looby's home was bombed, prompting the first major march.
Gaining Political Support (02:14)
View footage of Nash pushing West to take a personal stand at Nashville city hall. He agreed to desegregate lunch counters on moral grounds.
Forming SNCC (01:35)
In spring 1960, sit-in students attended an organizing conference in Raleigh under SCLC. Ella Baker urged them to remain independent.
Campaign Issue (02:27)
Martin Luther King's 1960 arrest at an Atlanta sit in enraged the black community. Learn how Kennedy helped get him out of jail—gaining him the African-American vote.
Freedom Ride (02:11)
Kennedy's commitment to Civil Rights was political. Learn about the Congress of Racial Equality's plan to pressure him to desegregate interstate travel.
Interracial Protest (04:20)
Lewis recalls beginning the Freedom Ride from Washington, D.C. Buses were attacked near Birmingham; participants received no police or FBI protection.
Negotiating Safe Passage (04:01)
Nashville SNCC students decided to continue the Freedom Ride. Robert Kennedy sent his assistant Seigenthaler to pressure Alabama Governor Patterson to ensure their protection.
Police Betrayal (06:38)
Lewis recalls traveling from Birmingham to Montgomery on the Freedom Ride. Police protection failed and they were attacked by a mob.
Federal Intervention (04:08)
Robert Kennedy sent U.S. Marshals to Montgomery. King led a rally at the First Baptist Church; mobs gathered outside. Patterson finally ordered state police to protect parishioners—a Civil Rights victory.
Military Protection (02:39)
After the First Baptist Church siege, Alabama guardsmen accompanied Freedom Riders from Montgomery to Jackson. Frederick Leonard recalls police in Jackson.
Freedom Rider Arrests (01:34)
Learn about Kennedy's negotiation with Mississippi police. Frederick Leonard recalls being arrested upon arrival in Jackson and describes the judge's bias.
SNCC Victory (03:12)
Freedom Riders continued traveling to Jackson in summer 1961. Kennedy desegregated interstate travel; students were experienced in nonviolent direct action.
For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126 (press option 3) or firstname.lastname@example.org.