Saturday, August 2, 2008

JOIN US for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Dockum Sit-In

In the Summer of 1958, two dozen young people from the Wichita Branch NAACP Youth Council staged what would become the first successful Student-Led sit-in of the Civil Rights movement. By August 11th, 1958, they had desegregated the Dockum drug store lunch counter and all Rexall Drug Stores throughout the State of Kansas, and the movement gained a powerful new weapon in the fight for equal accommodations...
Their actions weren't sanctioned by the NAACP National Office; sit-in's were not a recognized NAACP tactic at the time. But under the leadership of Local Branch President Chester I Lewis and Youth Council President Ronald Walters, these young people stood up by sitting down and changed our nation.
There was no parade or celebration to mark their accomplishment. In fact, their efforts, largely overshadowed by the later Sit-in's in Greensboro and throughout the South, were nearly forgotten by history. The Branch did receive a Thalheimer in 1959 for their work, but none of the Youth who participated in the Sit-in were able to attend.
PLEASE JOIN US, as we correct the oversight... On August 9th, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Dockum Sit-In, NAACP members from around the country will converge on Wichita to pay honor and tribute to the members of the NAACP Youth Council of 1958 and their President Dr. Ron Walters.
The original members of the 58 Youth Council have reunited for this event! Together, we will begin the morning with a march to the site of the original Dockum Drug Store. From there, we will continue on to the newly renamed Chester I Lewis Reflection Park, named in honor of Branch President Emeritus Chester 'Chet' Lewis who authorized the Dockum Sit-in. At the park, we will hear from the NAACP National Chief of Field Operations, Rev Nelson Rivers; the Honorable Mayor Carl Brewer; and the Esteemed Professor and former Youth Council President Ronald A. Walters...

  • The line up will begin at 10:00 in front of the Kansas African American Museum.
  • Free Parking is available in the Garage across from the Museum.
  • Transportation from the museum and from downtown hotels to the park will be available for those who are unable to march
  • Light refreshments will be provided within the African American museum upon the completion of the March.
CITY-WIDE GOSPEL CELEBRATION... At 7pm, The Wichita Branch NAACP Religious Affairs Committee in Partnership with Tabernacle Baptist Church, St Paul AME, and St Mark UMC, will host a City-Wide Gospel Celebration, bringing together some of the most powerful voices in Gospel from throughout the State. Artists such as Clifton Fisher, Betty Clark-Johnson, Jermaine Melton and many others will be on hand to offer praise and help mark this date in history.
Please join with us as we correct the history books and offer our thanks and appreciation to these truly deserving Civil Rights Pioneers and their nearly forgotten Acts of Service... All of the events of the day (The Reunion, the March, and the Gospel Celebration) will receive National Coverage from Veteran Journalist Dan Rather, CBS News Anchor of 24 years and now the host of "Dan Rather Reports" on HDNet, so we want to make sure that we as a community are out in force as we tell our story to the Nation...

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