Sunday, January 9, 2011

Morrill Land Grant College Acts, Jim Crow & Woolworth Sit-ind

Morrill Land Grant College Act of 1890 converted Jim Crow laws to 'separate but equal' and created civil rights for black students.

woolworths sit-ins
Response of Some Whites
in Greensboro, North Carolina
To Woolworth sit-ins

The Morrill Land Grant College Act of 1890 was about more than getting into college and being able to pay for an education. 

I use the discussion of civil rights and Jim Crow laws enforcing separate but equal in higher education and other aspects of American life to show writers how to use their interests to promote themselves as authorities in their area of expertise. 

This post on the 1960s Woolworth's sit-ins will demonstrate how you can use your talents and interests--cooking, sports, music or other--to advance your professional writing status as an expert or public speaker through free Internet exposure and search engine friendly web content to get free book publicity or related products. That's what I do and I would like to show you this strategy, while, at the same time, introducing you to a period in history that I find fascinating and have written about in numerous blog posts, print and web articles and my book, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's.

I will spend more time on the details of my interests later in this article. For now, I will concentrate on how the general topic in this article on  the land grant act, race relations in America and the Woolworth's sit-ins relates to showing you how to use my strategy to fashion your efforts commercially in developing your Internet articles, press releases, blogs and videos. 

In most cases, the Internet is free to use in ways that you may not see at first. One thing I learned writing and researching material for my blog, press releases and articles is that there are almost as many free Internet resources as those for which you pay, and the free Internet resources  are as effective as those you pay for, if you know how to use them.

When I wrote my book, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's, there was no FaceBook, which requires precautions against political correctness. because communications one key stroke away from insulting someone.

Follow Sunny Nash @ Twitter
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Communications have changed and are light years ahead of the tools I used writing my book and columns on a personal computer. I had no idea how easy it would become to inflict  political incorrectness.

Join Sunny Nash on Huffington Post
Also join me on Huffington Post for my comments and discussions on civil rights, race relations, politics, style, entertainment and other pressing issues of the day.

Start with a topic you want to explore. For example, I have written on Jim Crow laws and the Woolworth sit-ins of 1960 in previous blogs and articles, but during my research, I found some fascinating threads I wanted to follow. Here's what happened when I began to think more deeply about the subject of the Woolworth sit-ins and race relations, in general. My first time hearing of NC A&T College (North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University) was in 1960 when four of its freshmen sat down at the segregated Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, an act that changed race relations in America forever and set the tone for a new style of protest.

Rosa Parks, Montgomery Bus Boycott Arrest
Rosa Parks Arrested
Did Not Comply with Segregation Law
Start Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955

However, many observers may have forgotten that it was Rosa Parks who sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a similar style of nonviolent  protest in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat to a white man after being ordered repeatedly by the bus driver. Rosa Parks simply kept her seat until the bus driver summoned a police officer to assist in the matter. Then and only then did Rosa Parks leave her seat. And it was not to let the white man sit down. Rosa Parks left her seat to go to jail. 

I was 10 years old in 1960 when the Woolworth sit-ins took place and had no political interests of my own of any kind, other than I knew my society was segregated. I knew, though, separate facilities were in the process of changing. It took awhile for news to travel in the 1950s and early 1960s with early television reporting being a new resource of information transmission. Few small town television stations were in existence. Our town had one television station and its news was reported from a city nearly 100 miles away, which meant the news was filtered by the parent television station. It didn't matter, though, my mother wouldn't let me watch most of what was broadcast. "Read a book," was her answer to everything.

Newspaper pictures of the Greensboro Four, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr. (later known as Jibreel Khazan), and David Richmond,  showed their Woolworth’s sit-in at the lunch counter. They politely asked to be served, showing their receipts after making purchases in the retail part of the store. Their voices were quiet; they were not there to make trouble; they were there to either be served lunch or to register a complaint, if denied.

Woolworth Sit-ins
Woolworth's Staff Protests
Sit-ins in 1960 by Going on Strike
to Avoid Serving African Americans
Dignified and reserved, the four young NC A&T college men conducted themselves as gentlemen, day after day, and were met by resistance from Woolworth's staff, customers and the town's policemen, but not before being joined by other African Americans, white Americans, students, church-goers, activists, organizations and other interested parties, until, on July 25, 1960, the lunch counter at F.W. Woolworth's was finally integrated, dismantling 'separate but equal' lunch counter service.

At first, just sitting at the counter didn't mean much. However, when each day brought more and more students and news organizations, the matter became serious. The store manager knew the store had to act, either causing the students to leave or serving them, which meant going against local policy on race in public services and facilities. This change in policy swept across the nation and lead President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legislation that became the framework for freedom.

  • To help me tell the story regarding my topic
  • To help me to get free book publicity
  • To help me establish credibility in my area of interest
  • To help me retain the interest of my target audience

Remember, the more content you provide and the more often you provide fresh content, the easier it is for the search engines to locate your press release, article or blog. Use keywords that will lead readers to your information. Your more important keywords should be listed in the tag area provided by the publisher at the bottom of your web content.

I decided to use my own interest in race relations to assist you in adapting your own interests  in the creation of articles that others will find useful and also interesting. Once you attract the target audience, know the action you want them to take and provide them with the means to take the action.

  • Visit your other websites                                                           
  • Purchase your book
  • Contract you for consulting services

Be sure to provide handy links that work. Check the links before saving them to your article. Things happen and sometimes the links may not copy properly. If you want the reader to purchase your book, be sure the location of the purchase:  Buy Sunny Nash’s book, Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's. Be sure the link is working properly.
If you are looking for consulting contracts, you will need to supply an email contact for potential clients. Perhaps, you should create a separate email account especially for this purpose. Also, you must decide whether you intend to furnish clients with physical products or digital products. This distinction will determine which payment method you will require.

More than anything else, you must be interested in the topic you chose for your vehicle to Internet exposure. Your interest or disinterest will reveal itself, and your target audience will detect it immediately. The other disadvantage of your disinterest in your topic is that you will become bored and find the research and writing to be a chore.

Now, let's get back to my discussion of land grants, race relations and Woolworth's. Please forgive me. I'm selfish that way. I want to help you but, like I said, I'm selfish that way.

1950s North Carolina Bookmobile
1950s North Carolina Bookmobile
Separate but Equal? 
Serves African American Students;
Libraries and other public facilities
in the South were segregated.

Separate But Equal?:
 Maori Schools and the Crown 
1867-1969 by Barringt 
(Google Affiliate Ad)
Most of us, with few exceptions, had been well-raised and we behaved accordingly, reflecting expectations of families that had sacrificed to give us the opportunity of an education, which was still a privilege for black people when I was growing up.

Many parents and grandparents remembered a time when an education was impossible for them to get.

There was no money or time for school with everyone in the family, including the children, working to make money for the family. Going to college meant more than paying for tuition and books. It also meant paying for  room, board and transportation. Besides, no one in most of those families, or few anyway, had ever gone to college, so there was no example set in these families for younger children to follow.

Black families in my old neighborhood were still sending their children to cotton fields on area plantations in summer to earn money for their school clothes and to help the family pay bills. Without that money, some families would not have had lights and food.

More fortunate than most, I was an only child and the third generation in a family of college graduates. Some of my grandfather's sisters and his daughters were college graduates and it became an expectation for my cousins and me to go to college, too. My mother also had attended college and laid out her educational plan for me early.

North Carolina A&T students who initiated the Woolworth's sit-ins were much like African American students from other black colleges across the nation at the time. I was not in college then, but I was restless, hearing of changes everyone expected to see in my lifetime. It wasn't just talk in the neighborhoods. It was real--really real.

children picking cotton
Young Cotton Pickers
Library of Congress 
By 1960, black people had been preparing for changes for 100 years. Emancipation promised us equality and chances to move forward in this nation. We were all more than a little restless for change, tired of waiting for things to fall out of the sky and make things different for us. However, we knew we had to be careful about causing too much trouble too suddenly because we didn't want to go to war against better-armed policemen who had guns and dogs. There had to be a better way to accomplish this without bringing the house down on our heads. The NC A&T students discovered and developed a method of non-violence to effect the changes we all felt coming.

Martin Luther King, Woolworth Sit-ins
Martin Luther King, Jr., & Company
Greensboro, North Carolina
A persistent and organized movement of non-violence, a method used during the Civil Rights Movement by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a method that simply wore down the resistance of the dominant class and attracted followers from within the dominant class, mostly white college students from northern states. 

When conditions of African American life were publicized through newspapers and television, showing the cotton pickers on the plantation-like farms with no voting rights and no schools for their children, people who were not interested in the situation before became aware of and alarmed by the conditions they saw. Ordinary people were shocked by the photographs of cotton pickers on plantations in 1960 and, later in the movement, black demonstrators being attacked by police dogs on the streets.

depression cotton workers
Depression Cotton Pickers
Library of Congress
Yes, you read it correctly above. I said plantations. Many large southern farms that had been former plantations dotted the landscape of  the anti-bellum period and had managed to survive. First, their survival was accomplished through sharecropping arrangements with poor and uneducated black and white families, an economic system that began shortly after the Civil War. In the 20th century, survival of large farms depended on seasonal, day labor from surrounding communities performed by the children of poor black people who were not able to give their children a proper education to escape this Jim Crow lifestyle.

Schools for African Americans
Schools for African Americans
Were Ill-equipped
Often set up in churches 
Some southern community schools were no more than one-room shacks or provisional schools set up in churches with seating on pews. Farm owners discouraged educating farm workers for the same reason their ancestors wrote Jim Crow laws against educating slaves. Education was believed to ruin the good slave. Later, education was believed to give a good farm worker ambitions, the desire for more money and the need to leave the farm for a better life. 

White Sharecropping Family 1900s
White Sharecropping Family 1900s
Many Had no Stake in the American Dream
The photograph above and the one to the right are from the 1930s' Works Progress Administrations (WPA), part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, designed to give relief the destitute families during the Great Depression, which lasted roughly from 1929 to 1939, impoverishing white families as well as black.

However, many of these white sharecropping families were already impoverished and this happened long before the Depression. They were part of a heritage of poverty inherited from their impoverished ancestors who were never able to do more than struggle for a life in the dust on the edge of the American dream

During the existence of the WPA, programs put many Americans to work in cities and rural areas building roads, repairing bridges and participating in a number of public projects. The WPA also put actors, musicians, writers and photographers to work documenting conditions in America. If not for WPA arts programs, there would be no images, or very few images, of this period that depict what life was really like. By the 1960s, white families were not as common on southern plantations,  having been able to acquire some education and qualify for office jobs in surrounding cities and towns. Many of these jobs, labeled 'white' jobs, were clerical in nature or of some other non-professional position. Many professional positions that required higher education were still filled through traditional family connections, which were not available to black or poor uneducated white applicants. Even with an education, African Americans were not permitted to apply for ‘white’ jobs.

Belles Lettres Hall
Belles Lettres Hall (c.1855)
Alcorn State University, Mississippi
1974 Photo Courtesy HABS
U.S. Congress had passed the first Land Grant College Act, introduced by Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont in 1862. The Act gave all the states that had remained in the Union a grant of 30,000 acres of public land to sell, using the proceeds to establish colleges to educate students in agriculture, home economics, mechanical arts and other professions.

Because the Jim Crow South was segregated, African Americans were not permitted to attend these original land-grant institutions. Although the Morrill Land Grant College Act of 1862 authorized “separate but equal” facilities, only Mississippi and Kentucky established institutions where African Americans were eligible for college admission under this law, and only Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi, was designated as a Land Grant institution.

Black Southern College Graduates
Traditionally Black Southern College
Black students attended colleges like NC A&T, which began in 1890 under the second Land Grant Act in 1890. North Carolina General Assembly enacted the second Morrill Act, also known as a Land Grant College Act that "mandated a separate college for the colored race," to provide a comparable education for black students that the first Morrill Act provided for white students.

At a time when the country was in transition from agricultural and rural, to industrial and urban, the Land Grant College Act of 1890 was intended to extend higher education to those who had formerly been excluded and to expand this education to include practical training in science, agriculture and engineering, as well as classical studies, previously reserved for clergymen, teachers, physicians and lawyers.

Although other southern states established normal schools for training African American teachers, these schools resisted the federal government in establishing Land Grant schools for African Americans from 1866 to 1890. This was long before  Rosa Parks defied Jim Crow laws and refused to give up her seat to a white man in 1955 and Brown v. the Board of Education that ended legal segregation of schools in the United States in 1954.

A second Morrill Act was passed on August 30, 1890, to apply a portion of the proceeds of the public land sales to the support of African American colleges for agricultural and mechanical arts, like the white schools established under the provisions of the first Act of July 2, 1862. Since the first Morrill Act of 1862 did not provide funding to establish new colleges for black students, Senator Morrill introduced twelve bills to Congress between the years 1872 and 1890 trying to get support for Land Grant colleges to educate black students. 

When I wrote my book, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's, there was no FaceBook, which requires precautions against political correctness. because communications one key stroke away from insulting someone.

Follow Sunny Nash @ Twitter
Follow Sunny Nash
Communications have changed and are light years ahead of the tools I used writing my book and columns on a personal computer. I had no idea how easy it would become to inflict  political incorrectness.

Join Sunny Nash on Huffington Post
Also join me on Huffington Post for my comments and discussions on civil rights, race relations, politics, style, entertainment and other pressing issues of the day.

Justin Smith Morrill, Author  Land Grant college Acts
Justin Smith Morrill, Author
Land Grant college Acts

Justin Smith Morrill was born in Strafford, Vermont, in 1810. The son of a blacksmith, Morrill was forced to leave school at age 15 because of the lack of funds. Left without an education of his own, Morrill spent 1862 to 1890 establishing a means for both black and white college students to acquire what he could not—a college education.

During his tenure in the legislature, Morrill is also credited with creating the Library of Congress and the Washington Monument. Morrill died in 1898.
Congress passed the second Morrill Land Grant Act on August 30, 1890. This new Land Grant Act specified that states maintaining 'separate but equal' colleges for different races had to propose an equitable division of federal land-grant funds or allow all students to attend. Any states using their 1862 funds entirely for the education of white students were forced to either open their facilities to black students or provide separate but equal facilities for their education. Each southern state without an African American college by 1890 established one later under the second Morrill Act. Throughout the South, this Act established sixteen black Land Grant colleges and universities, known as the 1890 Land Grant Institutions.

Admission Matters 
Parents today can get help from a number of sources. One is a book, Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College [Kindle Edition]. It is reported to be an easy-to-use tool with chapters dedicated to specific preparation methods and lists of preparation resources that can be consulted by students, parents and councilors. Also covered is the SAT's (Scholastic Aptitude Test) revised writing component, an integral part of the revamped SAT and should be given consideration by high school counselors and parents. 

Paying for College 
Parents and students now must pay particular attention to getting into college, as well as applications for college scholarships and other means of paying for college. One of the most significant differences in going to college today and going to college years ago is the expense . Like everything else, a college education that requires loans can leave a student in debt for decades after graduation. Many parents and students are scrambling for ways of Paying for College Without Going Broke.

"You have to read," my mother said. "How else will you know anything useful to say? Or be able to answer questions on tests and scholarship examinations? You have to write, too. How else can you ask for and get what you want? H
ow do you think I fool all those cooking judges into awarding me prize money for my recipes? I write my proposals and recipes in a way they understand."

The 1890 Land Grant Institutions evolved into a major educational resource for the nation, which became research institutions in the areas of productivity of grain legumes--peanuts, soybeans, pigeon peas and dry beans--to help relieve hunger and poverty in developing nations. In addition, these schools synthesized a series of oxygen-carrying protein complexes to serve as blood substitutes in the treatment of sickle cell anemia and developed new composite alloys for use in outer space and earth-based activities. For more than a century, these schools provided a principal means of access to higher education for African American men and women.  Today, although their programs are available to all persons, regardless or race, sex, creed or socioeconomic status, the 1890 Institutions continue to be a source of African American leaders.

 North Carolina Business Leaders 1880s
North Carolina Business Leaders 1880s
In 1891, the Greensboro, North Carolina, community supported the second Morrill Act. Several black community leaders, similar to those pictured to the right, donated the fourteen acres of land for the site of North Carolina A&T and provided an additional $11,000 in cash for construction of the buildings, the first of which was completed in 1893. The site became  the home of the Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race (now North Carolina A&T State University). North Carolina state legislators officially changed its name to the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina in 1915. In 1967, the school was elevated in status to University. NC A&T became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972.

Students protested segregation of the Greensboro Woolworth’s and did not stop there. Other protests moved down the street from Woolworth’s to the S. H. Kress store. Although sit-ins had occurred in other places throughout the country for years, sit-ins in Greensboro motivated social revolution. One week later, protests spread to Winston-Salem and Durham, North Carolina, the locations of other black colleges. Within two weeks, students were protesting in southern and northern states.

jesse jackson civil rights activist
Jesse Jackson
Civil Rights Activist
Greensboro, North Carolina, stores--Woolworth, Kress and Myers--surrendered to student protests that began February 1, 1960, and began serving black customers at their lunch counters in July 1960. The results of the racial unrest in that city, however, produced two opposing forces—1) a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, and 2) a new black leader, A&T College football star, Jesse Jackson.

In 1964, students protested at Brady's Restaurant in Chapel Hill. Slow progress to desegregate fed black frustration. The same year, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Until public higher education was integrated in 1964, the Morrill Land Grant College Act  guaranteed that black students had access to formal training. The Morrill Acts also provided the framework for what would become a series of state college and university systems across the nation that continue to provide educational alternatives for white and black students who would not otherwise be able to afford the cost of a higher education.

Engage your target audience, but remember, you can't tell everything you know about a subject; better to write another article on a related topic. There just isn't enough space or time in one press release, article or blog entry. You can always revisit the subject in a later piece like I have done. Because I enjoyed the first piece I wrote on the Woolworth's sit-ins and I learned so much from it, I decided to write on it again. If you are writing a blog, it is your blog, your time, your space. Go back to a subject you like, but DO NOT bore us with the same old angle. Take a fresh approach, like I hope I am doing. And please do not recycle the same old images.
I attended a Land Grant College, Texas A&M University (TAMU), which was established as a 'white' school, the first university in the State of Texas, opened in 1876. When Justin Morrill argued that states with Land Grant Colleges for white students must provide 'separate but equal' institutions for black students or allow black students to attend their white colleges, Texas and the rest got busy creating black colleges. Texas built Prairie View College (now Prairie View A&M University) and placed it under the auspices of the Texas A&M University System. I received a scholarship to Prairie View but did not take it. When I graduated from high school, I was not ready for college. When I was ready for college, Texas A&M was ready for me and I decided to go there because of convenience. I lived near the University. Protesting had ended by that time. All I had to do was study. 

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash
Bigmama Didn't Shop
At Woolworth's
by Sunny Nash
In 1960, my grandmother, whom I called Bigmama, conducted her own protest with me in tow at a segregated hospital. I was ten years old. I wrote about this incident in my book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s: 

Afraid that my grandmother and I would be arrested or worse, my blood ran cold sitting under the “White Only” sign. I was proud and ashamed at the same time but too terrified to look up and see other people watching us. “I was about your age when the Supreme Court used the railroad to legalize what they called ‘separate but equal,’” Bigmama said. “It was 1896. Plessy v. Ferguson made things separate, but it sure didn’t make them equal.”

Bigmama shifted in her chair and looked at me, whispering, “All Mr. Plessy wanted was a first-class train ticket. Well he could spend first-class money on a first-class ticket But Jim Crow said he couldn’t put his black behind in a first-class seat.”

“Who’s Jim Crow?” I asked.

“A minstrel show character with a shiny painted black face and big white lips,” she said, glancing up at the sign. “Two nations under God, one ‘white only’ and the other one ‘colored.’ They wrote laws to keep us from using their restrooms, drinking from their water fountains, trying on clothes in a store, eating with them, going to school with them, marrying them and being buried under the same dirt with them.”

“Was Jim Crow before or after the South lost their war?” I asked softly, hardly breathing.

The North may have won the Civil War in the history books, but the South didn’t lose,” whispered Bigmama, smiling with a frown between her eyes as she often did. “The North gave the South everything the South was fighting to keep; because the North, the South, the West and the East all wanted the same thing—us in a low place.”

My grandmother got up, smoothed her coat, and politely nodded to the other stunned hospital guests. “I’m going now,” she said. “I never stay long where I’m not wanted.

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash
Bigmama Didn't Shop
At Woolworth's
by Sunny Nash
Sunny Nash Author, Producer Photographer
Sunny Nash
Author, Producer
Chosen by the Association of American University Presses as one of its essential books for understanding race relations in the United States, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolwort's (Texas A&M University Press) by the award-winning author, Sunny Nash, is also listed in the Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies by the Schomburg Center in New York and recommended for Native American collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida.

Robin Fruble of Southern California said, “Every white person in America should read this book (Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s)! Sunny Nash writes the story of her childhood without preaching or ranting but she made me realize for the first time just how much skin color changes how one experiences the world.  But, if your skin color is brown, it matters a great deal to a great number of people. I needed to learn that. Sunny Nash is a great teacher,” Fruble said.

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Race relations in America and Southern California is a feature of BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, a book of historical profiles on twelve African American women who made a difference in the history of Long Beach, California, and America.

Woolworth's in Greensboro, North Carolina, the site of struggle for equal rights in America, leading to an end of segregation in the United States, is now the site of the nation's International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

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