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Royal Ice Cream sit-in leader speaks Sat. at 4pm at Durham County Library downtown

We've talked recently here at BCR about the Royal Ice Cream sit-in that took place fifty years ago, an early occurrence of an event that became more common and better-known in cities like Greensboro a few years later.

On Saturday, Sept. 15 at 4 p.m., Reverend Douglas Moore, who led the Royal sit-in effort here in Durham fifty years ago, will speak in a presentation honoring the history of this event. The discussion will take place in the main auditorium of the Durham County Library in downtown.

After the speech, Eddie Davis -- who (as Jim Wise noted in his mention of this event at the N&O blog) is a former Hillside High teacher and chair of the North Carolina Association of Educators --
will lead the crowd in a singalong featuring updated lyrics to the civil rights anthem, "We Shall Overcome."

I've included the lyrics along with the whole press release from Mr. Davis in the jumpcut below in this post. It's an important message, and one that needs to be heard loud and clear in a city that still faces fractures not just from the lacrosse-case fracas, but from a history of injustices, slights, misunderstandings, and ignorance on so many sides.

Red, Black, White, Brown, Yellow
We all stand tall for Durham
Unity for Durham

Words we can all take to heart.

I'm planning to stop by for tomorrow's discussion and recollection of the events of a half-century past, and I know fellow blogger Barry is too -- joined, hopefully, a packed crowd of residents from throughout the Bull City. The Royal Ice Cream sit-in is part of a painful period in Durham's history, but one that we can't forget. Take advantage of a special opportunity to hear the story from the man of the cloth who led it.

Community Sing-Along of 2007 Version of
“We Shall Overcome”
To Highlight Golden Anniversary of Durham Sit-In

(Durham)    Fifty years ago, a small group of seven black citizens challenged North Carolina’s system of racial segregation by staging what was the first “sit-in” by occupying forbidden seats in the white section of the Royal Ice Cream Parlor on Roxboro Street in Durham. 

On Saturday, September 15, 2007, contemporary citizens of Durham will have the opportunity to hear from Rev. Douglas Moore, the leader of that 1957 protest, which served as the model for a multitude of other civil rights activities, including the more famous Woolworth’s sit-in in Greensboro. 

This remembrance discussion will be held at 4:00 PM on Saturday in the auditorium of the Durham County Main Library on North Roxboro Street in Downtown Durham.

According to event coordinator, Eddie Davis, “Perhaps the most exciting portion of Saturday’s event will be the 5:00 PM community gathering on the porch and the lawn of the main library for a “sing-along” that will offer new lyrics to We Shall Overcome. This song is the most famous of the traditional music from the civil rights movement and has been used in many other freedom movements.”

Davis indicates that, “With a respectful eye on the courageous 1957 Royal Seven action, Durham citizens from all segments of the community are encouraged to gather together on the ‘front porch’ of public library to stand together and to loudly sing together about solutions that we must work together to offer to Durham’s future.”   

Davis said that there is deep significance in the fact that the library is located a mere four blocks from the original location of the Royal Ice Cream Parlor.

“With our collective voices lifted, I hope we can give a rousing rendition to 25 new verses of We Shall Overcome.  The sing-along will begin at 5:00 PM and will last for about fifteen minutes,” Davis said.

Verses for the Saturday, September 15 Durham Sing-Along of “We Shall Overcome”

We Shall Overcome
Remember the Royal Seven
Red, Black, White, Brown, Yellow
We All Stand Tall for Durham
The Young, The Old, and The Middle
City and County Together
The Bull and the City of Medicine
Church, Mosque, Temple, and Others
Conservatives and Liberals Together
Repubs and Dems and Indy
The Committee, PA, and Friends
Register and Vote Together
Gay and Straight Together
Durham Tech, Duke, and Central
Parents and Schools Together
Educate All Durham’s Children
Midnight Oil for Students
Gangs, Get Out of Durham
Rid Ourselves of Violence
Let’s Keep the Eno Clean
Freedom, Justice, and Equality
Support the Troops from Durham
Unity for Durham
Remember the Royal Seven
We Shall Overcome



Kevin writes: "The Royal Ice Cream sit-in is part of a painful period in Durham's history, but one that we can't forget."

In his recent N&O article, Jim Wise wrote, "[Charles] Stanback is now project manager for the Bridge to Success project of Union Baptist Church, which stands across Dowd Street from the Royal Ice Cream site. The church bought the site in 2004 and is building a private school there: It had the Royal building razed last October [2006], but Stanback said plans are to commemorate the sit-in there in some way. ... 'We're going to get something nice on that corner," Charles Stanback said. "To let folks remember what was there.'"

I sure hope that private school contains a museum filled with artifacts. Otherwise those are some pretty hollow words, indeed.


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