NAACP Sponsored Sit-Ins by Howard University Students in Washington, D.C., 1943-1944

By Brown, Flora Bryant | The Journal of Negro History, Fall 2000 | Go to article overview

NAACP Sponsored Sit-Ins by Howard University Students in Washington, D.C., 1943-1944


Brown, Flora Bryant, The Journal of Negro History


Flora Bryant Brown [*]

When we think of student led sit-ins we tend to think first of the four young African-American male students at North Carolina A & T State University, who, on February 1, 1960, sat-in at a downtown Woolworth's store in Greensboro. Their actions came in the midst of the civil rights activities of the 1950s and 1960s and sparked similar sit-ins in other cities. But these were not the first, as earlier this century sit-ins were also used to confront segregation. Among those, African-American college students at Howard University planned and carried out two well-organized sit-ins in April of 1943 and April of 1944. Their goal was to end segregation in public places in Washington, D.C. and they were hopeful that their actions would spark similar sit-ins by other African-American college students across the country. Unfortunately, the sit-ins were abruptly ended by the college's President, Mordecai Johnson, and the administration at Howard.

By the 1940s there was a long tradition of protests used by the African-American community in the fight against segregation and discrimination. On numerous occasions direct-action had been used; however, it did not come into wide use as a protest tool until the 1960s. In the 1940s, A. Phillip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids, called for the use of direct-action when he called for a March on Washington to protest the lack of progress in securing defense industry jobs for African Americans. [1] Randolph was " ... the leader of the most vigorous pressure campaign for ... the rights of African Americans during the war." [2] He was the only public figure within the African-American community calling for direct-action tactics during the 1940s. In fact, it was Randolph who was most admired by young African Americans as a leader because he was direct and forthright in the call for equal rights and did not adhere to the acommodationist-type leadership of the past. World War II brought into greater focus the dichotomy between the American ideal and American reality in the lives of African Americans. Throughout the war years there were many challenges to the racial status quo all across the country. [3]

Washington, D.C. had developed into a thoroughly segregated city by the 1940s. According to one observer, "[A]side from some government cafeterias and the YMCA cafeteria at eleventh and K streets, N.W., Union Station was the only place in downtown Washington where a Negro could get a meal or use restroom facilities." Streetcars and buses remained integrated. [4] Segregation was not legal in Washington, D.C. at the time, as no specific laws were passed; however, it had become custom and practice there. African Americans were "barred from hotels, restaurants, theaters, movie houses, and other places of public accommodation." 5 Municpal ordinances in 1869 and 1870 had been passed, erasing "the word white wherever it appeared in Washington and Georgetown's charters and laws [had] specified that colored men were to be eligible for jury duty." 6 Civil Rights Laws were passed in 1872 and in 1873, requiring "all eating-place proprieters to serve any respectable well behaved person regardless of color, or face a $100 fine and forfeiture of their license for one year." As far as anyone knew at the time, these laws remained active. 7 At the turn of the century African Americans enjoyed a greater degree of freedom in Washington than in other southern cities. They could eat in restaurants and patronize theaters, movie houses, and the like. Yet within the African-American community there were divisions which included an upper-class and a middle-class that had developed since the Civil War. There were business people, real estate brokers and owners, clergy, doctors, public school teachers, lawyers, some government workers, and faculty and administrators at Howard University. Their position as the "elite" of their race and as liaisons to the white community rested on maintaining civil rights. …

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
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 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 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.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

NAACP Sponsored Sit-Ins by Howard University Students in Washington, D.C., 1943-1944
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
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
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.”

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 8, MLA 7, 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." (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.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    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.