It has begun!
The Peoples Tour for America has started its Civil Rights Tour through the South finding what exactly was the labor movement’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and collecting oral history from civil rights veterans who are fortunate to still be with us.
Yesterday we started off our travels in Stagville, which is located outside Durham, North Carolina. Stagville was one of the largest plantations in the state and was owned by one of North Carolina’s wealthiest families. The plantation covered a staggering 47 square miles. After the civil war, the plantation was an active farm worked by sharecroppers until the 1930’s. We were able to walk the grounds and visit one of the old slave quarters.
We then took off for Greensboro, North Carolina. In Greensboro, we visited the Beloved Community Center to get an activist driven perspective of how the labor movement and civil rights movement are intertwined and are still going on to this day. We talked to an A&T college student who joined in the 1960 Woolworth’s Lunch Counter sit-in after the initial four A&T students began the sit-in on February 1, 1960. We then interviewed a second member from the community center, who was bloodied, beaten and maced by local authorities after he mounted a successful write-in campaign to become class president on a student / worker solidarity platform.
After our time at the community center, we traveled across town to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum to gain a broader perspective on the Civil Rights Movement. The museum was located at the famous Woolworth’s Department Store that saw the A&T 4 sit-in. After our tour, we interviewed Richard Koritz, a Solidarity Officer with the American Postal Workers Union. Richard gave us a broader knowledge on some of that region’s labor victories and the fact that those working in the South can be organized.
Later on this morning, we will be leaving for Columbia, South Carolina and the surrounding area!