It was not that long ago that businesses in downtown Raleigh and along Hillsborough Street would refuse to serve blacks. But students, faculty and leaders at NC State battled to break down those barriers as the Civil Rights movement made its way throughout the South.
Chancellor John T. Caldwell and the Faculty Senate applauded a resolution by student government in 1960 calling for the integration of Raleigh’s public facilities. For three years, students and university officials talked with area business leaders and engaged in a letter-writing campaign calling for integration.
Those efforts finally paid off in 1963, when Baxley’s became the first restaurant on Hillsborough Street to serve blacks.
But the efforts didn’t stop there. In fact, they were intensified after Dr. Angie Brooks, a black United Nations delegate visiting from Liberia, was refused service at the S&W Cafeteria and the Sir Walter Raleigh Coffee Shop, according to Alice Elizabeth Reagan’s account in North Carolina State University: A Narrative History.
So on this day in 1963, students and faculty from NC State joined students from Shaw University and St. Augustine’s College to march downtown to protest racial segregation policies at the State Theatre in downtown Raleigh and at businesses in Cameron Village.
Within a few years, following the passage of federal civil rights legislation in 1964, most Raleigh businesses opened their doors to black customers.