The Nashville sit-ins, which lasted from February 13 to May 10, 1960, were part of a nonviolent
Over the course of the Nashville sit-in campaign, sit-ins were staged at numerous stores in the central business district. Sit-in participants, who consisted mainly of black college students, were often verbally or physically attacked by white onlookers. Despite their refusal to retaliate, over 150 students were eventually arrested for refusing to vacate store lunch counters when ordered to do so by police. At trial, the students were represented by a group of 13 lawyers, headed by
Although the initial campaign successfully desegregated downtown lunch counters, sit-ins, pickets, and protests against other segregated facilities continued in Nashville until passage of the
In 1896, the United States Supreme Court decision
In Nashville, like most Southern cities, African Americans were severely disadvantaged under the system of Jim Crow segregation. Besides being relegated to underfunded schools and barred from numerous public accommodations, African Americans had few prospects for skilled employment and were subject to constant discrimination from the white majority.
Although serious efforts were made to oppose Jim Crow laws in Nashville as early as 1905,[note 1] it was not until 1958, with the formation of the Nashville Christian Leadership Council, that Nashville's African American community would lay the foundation for dismantling racial segregation.