GREENSBORO, N.C. - One of the key battles to desegregate the South played out at a Woolworth lunch counter here on Feb. 1, 1960.
Reason: Lunch was not served.
Woolworth was a national retailer, and corporate policy allowed for managers to adjust for local custom. In the South, that meant blacks could shop at the "five and dime" but not dine there.
Segregation was the law of the land when four black college students sat down to order coffee at the Woolworth's in downtown Greensboro. They would not leave when refused service, and returned to the whites-only counter every day until it was formally desegregated almost six months later.