“An Extended Weekend of Celebration.”
That’s how International Civil Rights Center and Museum officials are describing the two events celebrating the civil rights movement that started in downtown Greensboro 62 years ago.
This year, the museum’s big annual fund-raising Gala will be on Monday, July 25, and the Dr. George Simkins Annual Golf Classic will be on Friday, July 22.
The events will celebrate the legacy of the ‘A&T Four,’ the four black A&T students who sat in at the F.W. Woolworth’s “whites-only” lunch counter in Greensboro on Feb. 1, 1960 – sparking a nationwide civil rights movement that, among many other things, led to the racial integration at the Greensboro Woolworth’s months later.
February 1, 1960, the start of the non-violent protest, is a well-known event, but this year’s gala celebrates the end result that took place in summer of that year. The change in schedule for the Gala, from its usual February date, is meant to honor the 62nd anniversary of the day – July 25 – when the lunch counter became racially integrated.
As a key segment of the Gala this year, attendees will see a video presentation by Vice President Kamala Harris – who will also be recognized as an honorary civil rights trailblazer.
According to promotional material for the gala and the golf tournament, “During these events, the Museum will acknowledge not only the non-violent activists who sustained the Greensboro Sit-Ins for six months until the lunch counter was formally desegregated, but local and national activists who have made significant contributions to advancing civil and human rights since then.”
At the Gala, in addition to Harris’s remarks, the museum will honor civil rights activist, the Rev. Dr. James Lawson with the Alston-Jones International Civil and Human Rights Award.
Also, Benjamin Crump will be given the Unsung Hero Award, and the Community Service Award will go to Rabbi Fred Guttman. Retired judicial commissioner Marilyn Mackel will receive the Sit-In Participant Award and political commentator and attorney Bakari Sellers will be presented with the Keeper of the Flame Award.
The Gala will be held on July 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Koury Convention Center. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. – offering enough time to verify attendees’ Covid-19 negative-test status or to check vaccination cards. Ticket information, sponsorship opportunities and more can be found at www.sitinmovement.org/2022-civil-rights-gala.
This year, people will also be able “attend” the gala virtually.
The Simkins Golf Classic fund-raiser will be held at Forest Oaks Country Club, on July 22.
Many people will be glad to know that tournament promoters note that “Peak athletic aptitude is not expected.”