The Movement Lives: Johnson C. Smith University Students Follow in the Footsteps of Civil Rights Activists

By Hawkins, B. Denise | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, September 27, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Movement Lives: Johnson C. Smith University Students Follow in the Footsteps of Civil Rights Activists


Hawkins, B. Denise, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

On the night of Feb. 8, 1960, J. Charles Jones, then a student of religion and psychology at Johnson C. Smith University, knew instinctively what it was he needed to do for his generation.

He first met with a handful of other classmates and friends, letting them know what he had just learned on the radio--other Black students in neighboring Greensboro, N.C. had begun staging lunch counter sit-ins at the five and dime. The next day, Jones told them, he planned to do the same. Dressed in his "Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes," and with some "sweet water" dabbed under his arms, an anxious but determined Jones was planning to make his way alone to Woolworth's in downtown Charlotte, N.C. He was going to order a meal and integrate the all-White lunch counter. But before he stepped off the campus and into the flay, nearly 300 Smith students turned out to join Jones in what was the beginning of a quiet riot and boycott that soon shut down Charlotte's businesses, and in just short of a year, pried them open to Black patrons.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"All I want is to come in and place my order and be served and leave a tip if I feel like it," the 22-year-old activist told a Charlotte newspaper reporter who asked Jones why he and the other Black students were leading the civil rights demonstration. But Jones, now 75, says the zeal and fight he took with him to Woolworth's day after day weren't just about the barriers thrown up by Southern lunch counters or the White people who owned them. Each time he sat down without being served at similar segregated lunch counters in Rock Hill, S.C., Tallahassee, Fla., or Albany, Ga., or got arrested and pressed into hard labor on chain gangs as a young Freedom Rider, Jones kept going by unwrapping the memories of his people. While in the belly of the racially charged South, where he narrowly escaped the Klan, Jones says he felt the will of "slaves who were plucked out of the continent." He conjured the endearing words of a beloved grandmother reminding him, "You God's child, you ain't no slave" and he remembered the debt he owed to the line of strivers, educated and moral people that he came from.

Telling West side stories

Jones, an emphatic Howard University-trained attorney, with an ever-ready rhythm and rhyme, and nimble recollections, was one of the faces and voices city visitors to the 2012 Democratic National Convention saw and heard when they turned on local media. His was among the stories Johnson C. Smith students told of life and residents in Charlotte's historic West End community. The student-led social media and online project titled RUN DNC 2012 is also serving as a platform for the campus and community to discuss issues and experiences that matter to them, says Laurie Porter, professor of mass media communications, who initiated the project with visiting political science professor LaTonya Williams.

In addition to Jones, students also interviewed Harry Webb, another Johnson C. Smith alumnus, about popular West End haunts from the 1950s. And in another video, university cheerleader Jockuela Ballard posted a video about growing up in foster care. Ballard was adopted at age 20 by her cheerleading coach and recently decided to go public with her story.

"The area is rich in character, but the stories of the people who live there don't always make the news. Now they're going public," says Porter. The project, which launched in March, is also intended to be a resource for "improving the democratic process and civic engagement with the sharing of the stories," Porter adds.

Williams added a voter registration drive to the project in a "Rock the Polls" week in early April. The event helped students learn about the political process and ways to get involved. "The site is interactive and fully integrated with social media, which makes it easy for people to learn about the political process and get involved," says Williams. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Movement Lives: Johnson C. Smith University Students Follow in the Footsteps of Civil Rights Activists
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.