Counter Histories: Documenting the Struggle to Desegregate Southern Restaurants


Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 1.36.01 PMCounter Histories: Documenting the Struggle to Desegregate Southern Restaurants is a stunning website on the lunch counter sit-ins, bringing the history to life with with historic film clips, interviews with movement veterans and historians, and timelines.

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Counter Histories encourages viewers to think beyond the demonstrations of the 1950s and 1960s. Visitors see and hear protesters talk about how their actions set the stage for a relatively integrated Southern present. Historians ground these events in the broader Civil Rights Movement. Activists talk, fifty years later, talk about how they leveraged moral authority to practice nonviolence and achieve desegregation.


Each of the five films in Counter Histories tells the story of a lunch counter sit-in in one Southern city or town: Jackson, Mississippi; Nashville, Tennessee; Rock Hill, South Carolina; Durham, North Carolina; and Cambridge, Maryland (see sample clip below). The events featured in these films took place between 1957 and 1963.

This description is from the Counter Histories website and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

For additional information on Counter Histories and to view the films, visit:

Credit: The site was produced in 2014 by the Southern Foodways Alliance with Kate Medley.