Woolworth’s Sit-In Stools

The sit-ins on these stools at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, gained the most press coverage, but there were numerous other sit-ins by students throughout the United States. Joan Trampuer, the great-granddaughter of Georgia slave-owners, was one of those students. While attending Duke University she participated in sit-ins and eventually left to join the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Freedom Rides.

Lunch counter stool from Greensboro, North Carolina sit-ins.
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Donated by the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, Greensboro, NC.

Trampuer later attended Tougaloo College and participated in sit-ins in Jackson, Mississippi. There whites attacked the protestors by punching them, pouring hot coffee on them, and pulling them off their stools. The police refused to help and arrested one of the protestors who had been pulled to the floor and beaten. Trampuer described it as an “out of mind experience,” similar to what she thought soldiers felt in battle.