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Historical Marker Unveiled For Nashville's Civil Rights Sit-Ins

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Posted at 9:58 PM, Jul 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-30 16:51:00-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It was a day to celebrate as dozens gathered with American Baptist College on 5th Avenue North near the old Woolworths, Kress' and McClellans stores in downtown Nashville.

They were there to unveil a historical marker in honor of a pivotal moment in Civil Rights history.

The Nashville sit-ins included 124 students from local historically black colleges.

On February 13, 1960 those students took a stand by walking into those stores and sitting at lunch counters reserved for whites only.

Rip Patten and Dr. Bernard Lafayette were two of them.

“It wasn’t about me,” Patten said. “It was more about the movement, and I thought more about the movement and what kind of progress we would make and so our parents wouldn’t continue to have that mindset, ‘Well, we've been doing this all our lives.’”

“With the power of non-violence we were able to transform even those who would consider themselves our enemies,” Dr. Lafayette said.

On May 10, 1960, Nashville became the first major city to begin desegregating public places when six stores opened their lunch counters to black customers.