First Sit-In Of The Civil Rights Movement
I’m a day late with this, but on Aug. 21, 1939 five young men were arrested at the Queen Street Public Library in Alexandria, VA and charged with disorderly conduct. After their applications for library cards were denied, they had quietly selected a book from the library’s shelves and sat down to read.
Also, too, they were Black.
Alexandria attorney Samuel W. Tucker had organized the sit-in and defended the young men in court. Tucker also had arranged for 10 days of nonviolence training before the men took action.
It’s a reminder that the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s wasn’t something new. It built on the examples and experiments of civil rights leaders and organizers from earlier decades.