Almost 60 years ago, a group of Howard High School students made history when they staged sit-ins at local establishments.
A collection of recently discovered photographs documents the historic Chattanooga sit-ins of 1960.
The 14 photos-distributed by the Chattanooga History Center and Picnooga-were published by Mashable Monday morning. Both the CHC and Picnooga have offered several of the photos for Nooga.com to publish as well.
The first of the Chattanooga sit-ins took place Feb. 19, 1960, at McClellan’s segregated lunch counter on North Market Street. The students staged a peaceful display, sitting and reading at the counter where they were not welcome.
The Chattanooga sit-ins were part of a larger movement happening throughout the South in 1960. Without the blessing of teachers or parents, 12 students decided to sit down for their rights as others were doing in cities such as Nashville and Birmingham.
But as the photos show, white pro-segregation groups also began showing up to the site. Businesses were forced to lock their doors as people gathered on the streets. Chattanooga Mayor P.R. Olgiati made the decision to incorporate fire hoses as a means of crowd control.
According to the article, the images “capture the tense atmosphere as the peaceful protests boil over into chaos on the fourth day, with the police using fire hoses to disperse the crowds-a tactic that had never been used before, but would be repeated by other police forces throughout the country.”
Click here to view all 14 photos. More photos can be seen below.
The Chattanooga History Center’s digital archives also include a collection of newspaper clippings about the sit-ins.
In 2008, WTCI produced the below documentary. The documentary features interviews with sit-in participants from Howard High School and others who witnessed the event.