Minerva King shares experience from 1960 Charleston sit-in

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – On April 1, 1960, a few students gathered at a Kress counter in downtown Charleston, a counter that was previously off-limits to black people.

S.H. Kress in Charleston, 1960
Source: Avery Research Center

Minerva Brown King was one of the young people that participated in the sit-in and sat down with News 2 to share her experience from the sit-in.

“I can remember people warning us when we got to the lunch counter telling us that we’re not going to serve you, get up and move. They took the top of the remaining seats up so that no one else could sit next to us,” said King on the reaction they received when they sat down at the counter.

She went on to discuss how surprised she was to see that even black people, at the time, were trying to stop them from protesting and boycotting. She believes that those particular people were not ready for change yet, but did utilize their new opportunities when they became available.

King said that Mother Emanuel AME, during that time, served as a place where protesters would come together and have some type of refuge.

She believes that a lot of the reason that protests are so large for George Floyd is because of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think the fact that we’re in this pandemic has something to do with it. People are at home, we’re limiting our movements outside of home and it’s given people to chance to look and see what’s going on in the world.”

Minerva Brown King

She also says a reason this movement is so huge is because of George Floyd’s death being caught on video and shared around the world.

She is enjoying seeing all of the young people come together right now and fighting for change and she sees it as her job now to share her knowledge with the next generation, so that they can continue to fight for change.

“We’re not going to be here forever, we’ve got to pass the baton,” King said as she discussed what she and others believe are their new roles as they begin to get older.

She knows change won’t happen instantly, but she hopes that by sharing her experiences and people continuing to fight, change will come.

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