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Rev. Dr. Raymond R. Wilkinson
Roanoke, Virginia's Civil Rights Pioneer
On March 5th, 1960, several African American students of Roanoke, Virginia decided to quietly defy segregation laws by going into a white only Woolworths on Campbell Avenue to start a sit-in protest. These brave African Americans sat at the lunch counter waiting to be served. But because of segregation laws, white employees at Woolworths were not allowed to serve African American customers at lunch counters. During segregation, black customers would only dine in the basement. As they continued to wait on service, all white employees turned their backs on them. After several hours, these brave students left quietly without being served. This event sparked interest of the Roanoke President of the NAACP Reverend. R.R. Wilkinson to begin efforts to integrate white only lunch counters in Roanoke, Virginia starting with Woolworths. Over the next five months history will be made. A change was coming to Roanoke.
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