Students of Cal for Racial Equality picket Woolworth In Berkeley to support Southern students lunch-counter sit-ins.

In March of 1960, Cal students organized a boycott and picket of the Berkeley Woolworth department store under the sponsorship of the Students of Cal for Racial Equality.  SLATE, the left-wing UCB group which called itself a student "political party" and ran candidates for student office, provided leadership for the protest.   Kress and Woolworth stores in San Francisco were also picketed, in answer to a call put out by the Bay Area National Committee for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  

The protests  were designed to draw public support for the Woolworth  boycott and lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina the previous month.  By the end of March, 1960, the sit-ins and support boycotts had spread to 55 cities in 13 states.  At the end of the summer most dining facilities in the south had been desegregated.

The spark generated by the Greensboro sit-ins led to the formation of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in April, 1960.  SNCC and CORE were responsible for many of the protests against Jim Crow laws and southern segregationist policies, creating a mass movement that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  

The Spring and Summer of 1960 saw an explosion of political activity involving Cal students like myself.   Although I graduated from UCB with honors in 1963, my participation in the seemingly never-ending series of political events on campus ended my "straight A" streak, as I concentrated more and more on the activity swirling around me.

Picketers in front of Woolworth

This is what shoppers had to ignore to shop at Woolworth

This is my mom, Billie Wachter.  She walked a thousand picket lines in over seventy years of progressive polictical activity and lived to age 97

Help me identify these two UC student leaders

Protesting jailing of black students who sat-in at Nashville lunch counters

Gathering signatures for petition opposing Southern lunch counter segregation

Students picketing in front of other Shattuck Avenue stores

We marched around downtown Berkeley, too, when we tired of circling in front of Woolworth

Help me identify these two UCB student leaders

Picket duty in the rain.  Our home-made signs weren't waterproof