Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Remembering the Dockum Drug Store sit-in

 From Wichita Peace and Freedom Party Examiner;

One thing we Wichitans are famous for today is the Dockum Drug Store sit-in. The store is gone but the memory lingers on and today it is hard to imagine that in 1958, black people could not sit at a lunch counter with white people. They could order lunches to go and then leave.
White people could sit down and have their lunch at the counter. Discrimination was practiced throughout the United States. Mostly it was institutionalized in the South, but even in the mid-west cities as Wichita, it was still being practiced.
The sit-in was organized by the late Ronald W. "Ron" Walters, then a member of the Wichita area NAACP Youth Council. Walters and his cousin Carol Parks-Hahn, along with attorney Frank Williams, sat at the counter all day reading the paper. At first they ordered Cokes and the waitress served them. Then she was told it was the stores policy not to blacks at the counter. All day long white people of all ages taunted and threatened them.

Eventually the store was forced to change its policy and had to serve blacks at the counter. This action helped inspire the actions of the Little Rock Nine and the earlier Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The actions also inspired such sit-ins all across the country. In 1998, The City of Wichita erected a 20 foot Bronze Statue of the lunch counter in a small park area near Douglas and Broadway close to where the old Dockum building used to stand.
The statue reminds a lot of us what it took for the civil rights movement to gain ground. It is ironic that such sit-ins got inspiration for the NAACP in Wichita, Kansas. But that is a part of Wichita history as well as the nations.

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