This interview with Franklin McCain—one of the original four student demonstrators in 1960—embodies a cultural obligation—youths especially—to question the morality of racial inequality in American society. As a cultural historian, my interests pertain to a wide variety of historical events, but the 1960s easily serve as my favorite time period of history to study and make sense of the United States, both then and now. In 2014, political inefficiency and public opinion still plagues American society despite the organized efforts of historical minority groups subordinated in society whether based on race, economic status, gender, age, ethnicity. The nonviolence of the student sit-ins in 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement which sought major social and economic reformation with heavy political intervention. However, many features of the movement were repressed due to the lack of appreciation for cultures and ideologies foreign to the American elites’ mindset in the 1960s. The simplicity and innocence which defined this sit-in represented these four African Americans students’ bravery and ability to resist conformity to unacceptable social conditions for nonwhites. Considering the time I have dedicated to equality studies, this document appeals to me in its analysis of nonconformity and the increasing confidence of movements and beliefs that radically shaped the public discourse of the 1960s. Essentially questioning the outdated traditions of American society, these students’ actions highlighted the majority of the nation’s reluctance to analyze the obvious political and economic injustices which perpetuated the inequality between classes of American society. Despite the copious amounts of violent backlash and racial prejudices still present in 1960, these students and followers alike remained unaffected—on the surface—by the drastic measures taken by American politics and society, thus creating a platform for more cultural responses to form in protest of the nation’s disregard for public opinion.
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