A resolution recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Sit-In Movement in Nashville, Tennessee.

WHEREAS, during February of 1960, a handful of Nashville college students from Fisk University, Tennessee A&I (later Tennessee State University), and American Baptist Theological Seminary along with religious leaders, Reverends Kelly Miller Smith and James Lawson, and students John Lewis, Marion Barry, Diane Nash, C.T. Vivian, Kwame Leo Lillard, Allen Carson Jr., Etta Simpson Ray, Frederick Leonard, Alice Johnson, Sandra Brown, Barnard Lafayette, James Bevel and many others, began a sit-in campaign targeting downtown lunch counters; and

WHEREAS, the Nashville sit-ins, which lasted from February 13 to May 10, 1960, were part of a nonviolent, direct action campaign to end racial segregation at lunch counters in downtown Nashville; and over the course of the campaign, sit-ins were staged to test downtown businesses at numerous stores such as Woolworth’s, S.H. Kress, Walgreens, McClellan’s and Grant’s by asking to be served, but were refused; and

WHEREAS, on April 19, after the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Attorney Z. Alexander Looby’s home was bombed, thousands of blacks marched to Nashville's City Hall demanding justice in what became known as “The Silent March” to protest and challenge Mayor Ben West who conceded that segregation was wrong and that lunch counters should be desegregated; and

WHEREAS, in Nashville, Tennessee, the very next day, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Fisk University commending the students for their efforts of courage and discipline to end the Jim Crow laws; and

WHEREAS, on May 10, 1960, Nashville became the first major city to begin desegregating its public facilities, which was just the beginning of the changes to come for a more equal and better society; and

WHEREAS, to celebrate this remarkable occasion several events have been planned during 2010 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Nashville sit-ins such as the Tennessee State Museum's exhibition, held February 4 to May 16, entitled "We Shall Not Be Moved”; the downtown Nashville Library photography exhibit entitled "Visions & Voices: The Civil Rights Movement in Nashville & Tennessee" from February 9 to May 22; the Nashville Conference on African American History in conjunction with the Metropolitan Historical Commission held at Tennessee State University Avon Williams campus on February 10 and a joint panel discussion conducted by the NAACP Nashville and the First Amendment Center at the John Seigenthaler Center; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that the Metropolitan Council recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Nashville sit-ins.


Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Sit-In Movement in Nashville, Tennessee.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Council Office is directed to prepare a copy of this Resolution to be presented to all those that participated in the sit-in movement including but not limited to Reverends Kelly Miller Smith and James Lawson, United States Representative John Lewis, former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, activist Diane Nash, C.T. Vivian, former Metro Councilmember Kwame Leo Lillard, Dr. Allen Carson Jr., Joe Goldthreate, Etta Simpson Ray, Frederick Leonard, Alice Johnson, Sandra Brown, Barnard Lafayette, James Bevel, Ernest Rip Patton, Frankie Henry, Matthew Walker, Jr., Freddy Leonard, Mary Jean Smith, King Hollands, Norma Simpson, Elizabeth McClain, Gloria McKissack, Joy Reagon Leonard, Nathan Winters, Salynn McCollum, Terry Henderson, Patricia Jenkins Armstrong, Carolyn Reed Bush, Norma W. Ochoa or be presented to members of their families.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Vivian Wilhoite, Sandra Moore, Erica Gilmore, Bruce Stanley, Sam Coleman, Megan Barry, Erik Cole, Jerry Maynard, Mike Jameson, Kristine LaLonde, Sean McGuire, Jason Holleman, Emily Evans, Bo Mitchell, Parker Toler, Lonnell Matthews, Michael Craddock, Karen Bennett, Jim Gotto, Frank Harrison, Robert Duvall, Anna Page, Jim Forkum, Edith Taylor Langster, Duane Dominy, Rip Ryman, Jamie Hollin, Walter Hunt, Ronnie Steine, Tim Garrett


Referred: Rules & Confirmations Committee 
Introduced: March 2, 2010
Adopted: March 2, 2010
Approved: March 3, 2010