HOUSTON — Wednesday marks the 60th anniversary of a watershed moment in Houston’s Civil Rights movement.
On March 4, 1960, a group of Texas Southern University students staged a sit-in at the “whites only” lunch counter at Weingarten’s grocery store on Almeda.
They were inspired by another group of students who organized the country’s first sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The Weingarten’s protest was followed by other sit-ins throughout Houston in a call for desegregation.
Some stores responded by closing their lunch counters.
Still, the students and others who joined them remained peaceful.
On March 7, things took a violent turn when a man who wasn’t involved in the sit-ins was abducted at gunpoint by members of the KKK. They beat Felton Turner with chains and carved KKK into his stomach before hanging him from a tree.
Turner survived and word of his attack helped further galvanize the students’ resolve.
Their actions eventually paid off and within months, most Houston businesses were desegregated.
A post office now sits on the site of the old Weingarten’s.
On the 50th anniversary of the quiet protest, a historical marker went up to honor those 13 brave students.
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