On June 9, 1960, just after 1 pm, about a dozen people walked into the People’s Drug Store at 4709 Lee Highway in Cherrydale and began what would become a peaceful County-wide demonstration for the right of all people to be served at what had historically been white-only lunch counters. Although African Americans could patronize stores as clientele, employees refused to serve customers of color at the lunch counters within the stores.
In February of the same year, students protested at a segregated lunch counter at an F. W. Woolworth department store in Greensboro, North Carolina, and sparked a series of similar sit-ins throughout the South. In response, Virginia’s Governor Lindsay Almond passed three bills through the Virginia Assembly that criminalized trespassing to attempt to prevent similar picketing in the Commonwealth.
Inspired by the protests in Greensboro, several Howard University students and local allies founded an integrated group of activists against segregation and racism under the name of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG.) In June 1960, this group, which included Lawrence Henry, Dion Diamond, Joan Trumpauer (now Mulholland), Gwendolyn Greene (now Britt), Cornelia Greene, Charles Cobb, David Hartsough, Helene Wilson, Walter De Legall, Paul Carr, Ethelene Crockett, Paul Dietrich, Jean Donnelly, Mike Proctor, James E. Browne, Emily Malkin (now Flynn), William Griffin, Martin Schain, Antonia Lewis, and Clyde McDowell, organized demonstrations over various days at lunch counters across Arlington. The demonstrations featured black protesters buying goods to establish themselves as customers, while black and white protesters ordered food at the counters. Black demonstrators were not served food, so white protesters passed their food to the black students to de facto desegregate the counters. Demonstrators sometimes engaged employees in conversations about desegregation but often sat reading the Bible in silence or to each other.
Please note that visitors can only view the exterior of this attraction.