|Chancellor Otis Singletary|
The letter to Singletary earned a swift response. On March 13, he set up a meeting with a local business owner and Dean of Students Katherine Taylor. In the meeting, Singletary stressed that he recognized that he had no official authority to dictate policy to the business owners of the Corner, but he wished to request “unofficially that all students at the Woman’s College be served at the Corner eating places and admitted to the Cinema Theatre.” Singletary warned that, if the present segregationist policy continued, the students would likely begin picketing and boycotting these businesses.
On that same day - March 13, 1963 - the WC Student Government Association passed a resolution urging Singletary to "use his authority and influence as a college official" to convince owners of business on the Corner to desegregate their facilities. Specifically, they called out two restaurants - the Apple House and the Town and Country – as well as the Cinema Theatre on Tate Street. SGA’s resolution carried the same argument as the letter from the students to Singletary – the WC is integrated and its local businesses should be too.
|SGA resolution calling for a boycott |
of segregated businesses on Tate Street, 1963
Rallies and protests continued throughout Greensboro during the summer months. On May 22, 1963, more than two thousand African Americans of all ages and classes silently marched to downtown Greensboro to show their dedication to achieving racial equality, making it the largest march in the city’s history. A few days later, 1,643 white residents of Greensboro allowed their names to be published by the Greensboro Daily News in a full-page and partial-page ad in support of the integration of Greensboro’s businesses. On June 4, over five hundred students and adults joined North Carolina A&T student body president Jesse Jackson in a silent march. The next evening, Jackson led close to seven hundred African Americans to City Hall and was charged with “inciting a riot.” Protests continued throughout town, leading Greensboro Mayor David Schenk to issue an appeal to all businesses to desegregate immediately and for activists to halt their protests.
By June 13, eight more Greensboro restaurants chose to desegregate, making approximately one-quarter of local establishments open to African Americans. In July, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants Association insisted on a resolution calling for the immediate desegregation of all public spaces. And by the fall of 1963, close to 40 percent of Greensboro businesses had been integrated – including the institutions on Tate Street.
More information about the 1963 desegregation protests and marches – including more images and original documents – can be found at Civil Rights Greensboro.