Marker commemorates Kress lunch counter sit-in

Marker commemorates Kress lunch counter sit-in

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Preservation Society officials unveiled a marker Sunday commemorating a sit-in for civil rights at the Kress building lunch counter in 1960.

On April 1 that year, 15 Burke High School students were arrested for the protest. Their courage will forever be marked for all to see.

"Black students from Burke High School were denied service but refused to leave." That's part of what's written on the historic marker now displayed at the building on King Street. Passing crowds will now know a little bit more about what happened that day.

"It was just an all-out effort the break the system of legal segregation in Charleston," said Minerva Brown King, one of the demonstrators able to make it back from the commemoration over 50 years later.

"We wanted something that would help us, that would inspire us to go out and make mankind different for everybody," said another demonstrator at the ceremony, Cecelia Gordon Rogers.

One man, Robert Maguire, said the ceremony took him back to that day, when he watched from across the street as the demonstrators were carried off to jail following the five and a half hour sit-in.

The sit-in changed Maguire's life too, as he now serves as one of the vice presidents for the Charleston chapter NAACP, "It just wasn't right and that's what again cemented my thoughts as to how I was going to carry myself in life. I was not going to stand for that."

King and Rogers said they've turned their attention to social and economic issues of today's world. They plan to continue telling their stories in hopes of inspiring younger generations.

Three more markers will be unveiled next week.

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