Belles Of Liberty book cover

Belles of Liberty:

The historic Greensboro, N.C. lunch counter Sit-in on February 1, 1960 is one of the most well known incidents in Civil Rights history. This singular event was universally credited to four young men from North Carolina A&T State University. The integration of public accommodations in Greensboro and many cities followed.

Belles of Liberty: Gender, Bennett College and the Civil Rights Movement recalls a more complete story, illuminating what historians overlooked: that the first Sit-in in Greensboro was carefully planned on Bennett College’s campus; and without the women who sat down, marched and were incarcerated in the hundreds from 1960 to 1963, the Sit-in effort and subsequent desegregation of Greensboro and even other communities, might not have succeeded.

Linda Beatrice Brown’s thorough recounting of these disciplined and intrepid women from the historically black liberal arts college reveals the truth that, as Greensboro activist Lewis Brandon said, “We couldn’t have accomplished what we did without those Bennett women.” More than a half century after the Sit-ins began, what the Bennett women accomplished is finally placed within the context of the national Civil Rights Movement, including fifty invaluable first-hand accounts from the women who were there.

Belles of Liberty is a major contribution to our understanding of what actually happened during those turbulent days in Greensboro, when these courageous women were moved to put their lives on the line for justice.


Introduction by Dr. Linda Beatrice Brown:

"Numerous scholars are aware that the participation of women in the national Civil Rights Movement was a key to its success. The same is true of the Greensboro movement. It is my intention here to examine the role of Bennett College women in particular within this legend that is Greensboro's story. I hope to add one more voice to that piece of the historical narrative of Greensboro....The women of Bennett College who made the decision to lift the veil of female respectability and step out into history deserve to be remembered, but more than that they are greatly needed today. Their story must be told. We have need of the example of their courage, their vision and their absolute certainty that there was a better way. If their story is lost we are the poorer for it, and so much further behind than ever. If their story is not told, our own young women and men will not have that powerful inspiration they need to go forward on their own journey of faith to make the world a better place. It is as important to remember them as it is to remember Dr, King for without them and others like them nothing would have changed."

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