Four black college students from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College staged the first of the Civil Rights Movement’s sit-ins. The students sat down at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and attempted to order but were refused service. The sit-in movement grew to more than 140 cities. Participants faced harassment, violence, and arrest in their attempts to integrate public lunch counters.
Alabama governor George Wallace, who previously declared, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” attempted to stop the integration of the University of Alabama by physically blocking the entry of two black students. Wallace eventually stood aside after President Kennedy authorized the National Guard to step in.
President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed by assassin Lee Harvey Oswald while riding in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas. Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president upon Kennedy’s death.
The Kerner Commission, established by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the race riots of 1967, issued its report on the nation’s recent racial violence. The report declared, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” It further stated, “This deepening racial division is not inevitable. The movement apart can be reversed. ”