The Greensboro Sit-In was a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement.
On February 1, 1960, four students from the black Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina, sat at the whites-only lunch counter in Woolworth's and ordered coffee. They were refused service, but remained seated at the counter until closing time, despite the protests or both the management and other customers. This minor incident marked the emergence of the 'sit-in' as a major form of protest, and one that would be used throughout the Civil Rights Movement.
Each day the protesters returned to the counter, bringing with them other students, including many whites from other colleges. Despite the hostility of many white spectators the protesters remained non-violent. Within a week hundreds of students demonstrated in the store, eventually forcing the manager to close it.
Due to the growing links between protest groups several 'copy-cat' actions took place in other cities. As a result, the Greensboro lunch counter, and many others like it in 26 cities throughout the south, were desegregated within six months. Also, this protest, very much inspired by the non-violent methods encouraged by Martin Luther King, showed the power of non-violent protest as well as generating a great deal of public awareness of the movement. Encouraged by the success of this protest, the SCLC organised a student conference from which grew the Student NonViolent Coordinating Committee.