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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Harvey B. Gantt, January 6, 1986. Interview C-0008. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Lunch counter sit-in sparked a citywide movement in Charleston

Gantt's sit-in at S.H. Kress's lunch counter sparked a citywide movement in Charleston.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Harvey B. Gantt, January 6, 1986. Interview C-0008. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

LYNN HAESSLY:
And it was the boys rather than girls?
HARVEY B. GANTT:
Well, there were women but the men led that actually. Anyway, that happened and it turned out to be a positive result. We were not locked up in a jail, we were kept in a courtroom. My parents came to pick us up. The City of Charleston acted in a very civil manner. We were charged and our case ultimately ended up in the Supreme Court which was thrown out. This was a couple years later, I was on my way to Clemson.
LYNN HAESSLY:
Did it permanently change the segregation at the lunch counter?
HARVEY B. GANTT:
Oh, it started a change in the minds of the whole place. It ultimately ended up in a movement that spread throughout all of Charleston. That occurred two years later, three years later. The year I went to Clemson, one of the same people, the young minister that led a movement called the Charleston Movement, which was massive demonstrations a la the Birmingham type things that occurred for public accommodations, not just lunch counters, but the whole works. That ultimately culminated in a large number of people who wanted to march on Washington and the North. I think all across the South those changes occurred during that year and the following year. But the sit-ins were the first, the very first, time this had ever happened.