UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Civil Rights milestone on Tate Street

Archive photo of Tate StreetStep down to Tate Street May 16 and imagine the scene of exactly 50 years ago.

On the sidewalks, you’d have seen three small groups of Woman’s College (UNCG) students, picket signs in hand, marching. The cinema, the Apple House Restaurant and the Town and College Restaurant were segregated at that time. And many Woman’s College (UNCG) students intended to make a stand.

A circular about the protest listed six student contacts – three were African American, three were white. Apparently two to three dozen actually marched. “The students picketed in groups of 3 to 5 in front of each of the three establishments, in hour shifts during the designated times,” the Carolinian noted. All the marchers were WC/UNCG students.

The women rotated in hourly shifts, to avoid missing any classes.

The student government had voted its support of a student-led boycott of these businesses. And a group of students picketed. They were determined. Marian Thornhill McClure ‘64 said during the recent UNCG Reunion, “Herbie, he was determined he was not going to serve black people.” She was speaking of Herb Apple, proprietor of the Apple House Restaurant, where she picketed. But their collective effort was a success. “It was a matter of wearing them down,” she concluded.

  • The students’ signs bore such slogans as “Liberty and Justice For All” and “All WC Students Are Equal.”
  • The picketing lasted May 16-22, according to a flyer.
  • Both African-American and white students participated in the 1963 Tate Street picketing.
  • Participants speak of verbal harassment. Some recall being spat upon or things being thrown at them.

Sina McGimpsey Reid, one of the many organizers, told UNCG Magazine, “There was bravery that was demonstrated…. Some were very courageous.”

See related story of two old friends who marched on Tate Street, in today’s Campus Weekly.

See a complete story of the Tate Street picketing at www.uncg.edu/ure/alumni_magazineT2/2010_spring/feature_tatestreet.htm

The Spartan Stories blog, by UNCG Archives, plans a story on the protest next week, at uncghistory.blogspot.com/.

By Mike Harris