Sunday, February 1, 2009

KPTS Documentary on the 1958 Dockum Sit-in to premiere on Tuesday, Feb 3rd, at the WSU Hughes Metroplex

KPTS has recently released a new Documentary on the 1958 Dockum Sit-In. The Dockum Sit-in, led by Ron Walters and the 1958 Wichita NAACP Youth Council, was the first successful Student-led sit-in in the nation. It was quickly followed by a similar sit-in effort launched by the Oklahoma City NAACP Youth Council. The efforts of these youth served as a model which was replicated throughout the Midwest and the South. Their courage, persistence, and careful planning, gave the movement it's greatest weapon in the struggle for equal accommodations. Here's the trailer:

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 its 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 Greensboro sit-in's of 1960 and subsequent efforts 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.

This past August, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Dockum Sit-in with a march from the African American Museum to the site of the old Dockum building and a rally at the newly renamed Chester I Lewis Reflection Park. We were joined by representatives from the NAACP National Office who officially recognized the Dockum Sit-In and it's participants for their great work on behalf of the Organization. And now we ask that you please join us Tuesday evening, as we take yet another step towards securing their rightful place in history...

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