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This was the decade of the major civil rights movement in American, and Georgia, history. While there were many activists, the central figure was Martin Luther King, Jr., who in this year became co-pastor (with his father) of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. One of the ways African-Americans began protesting was "sit-ins," where they would go to places where they were not allowed (like restaurants) and "sit in" them anyway as a means of protest. The first of these occurred in North Carolina; in response to it a group of Atlanta students known as the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights published "An Appeal for Human Rights" in Atlanta newspapers. Soon afterwards the movement became active in Atlanta, where 200 students staged sit-ins at ten downtown lunch counters, then moved to the Georgia State Capitol, where six students attempted to be served. When told to leave, they refused and were arrested.
Later in the year the movement carried on when Martin Luther King, Jr. and dozens of other protesters were arrested in a sit-in demonstration at the Magnolia Room in Rich's Department Store in downtown Atlanta. For his role in the sit-in, King was sentenced to months of hard labor at the Georgia State Prison. He was taken to the prison, but was released the following day after his bond was paid. Reportedly, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy intervened with Georgia governor Ernest Vandiver, Jr. to help secure King's release, thinking his imprisonment could become a factor in the national campaign.
As the civil rights movement gained steam, some 8000 African-Americans attended a prayer meeting in Atlanta as part of a growing movement to boycott downtown stores that refused to integrate their facilities. 2000 of those then marched downtown to show their support for civil rights demonstrators.
Actress Joanne Woodward, born in Thomasville, Georgia, became the first person honored with a star in the sidewalk along Hollywood Bouvelard that became the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Flannery O'Connor's second novel, The Violent Bear it Away, was published.
Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" was released and bumped "The Twist" from the top of the popular music charts. She topped the charts again later in the year with "I Want to be Wanted."
Future musician Amy Grant was born in Augusta, Georgia.
Future musician Michael Stipe was born at Fort McPherson near Atlanta.
Future University of Georgia and Atlanta Hawks basketball star Dominique Wilkins was born in France.
See the following This Day in Georgia History entries:
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