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'This is hallowed ground' | Greensboro Museum up for huge honor

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, was founded after World War II to contribute to peace and security in the world.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A lunch counter is the centerpiece of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro and has long been considered one of the more important locations in the fight for civil rights in America.

“This is hallowed ground," John Swaine who has been with the museum over the past 13 year and the last seven as its CEO, said. "I still get goosebumps every time I step in here."

The year was 1960, and restaurants like so many other places like bus stations and even bathrooms and water fountains were segregated in the south until four students from the historically black college North Carolina A&T State University sat down to protest at the all-white lunch counter. 

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Despite the inherent dangers of the time the students refused to move. On the second day, and each day after that others joined in the protests until after months Woolworth’s and similar chains finally desegregated.

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Now the museum is up to be recognized by the international organization UNESCO as one of ten important locations in the struggle for civil rights in America, and the only one in the state of North Carolina.

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UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, was founded after World War II to contribute to peace and security in the world. Swaine said just to be considered is a huge honor. 

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Contact Richard DeVayne at rdevayne@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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