Saturday marks 60th anniversary of Dockum Drug Store sit-in

WICHITA, Kan. Saturday marks the 60th anniversary of the Dockum Drug Store sit-in which took place in downtown Wichita.

Kansas African American Museum

On a summer day in 1958, 30 students from the Wichita NAACP organization sat down at a white-only lunch counter at the Dockum Drug Store. The protest was peaceful and organized and did not lead to violence like many did, especially in our Southern neighboring states. After three weeks, Dockum desegregated the food counters at all nine locations.

Often recognized as the first successful student-led sit-in of the Civil Rights era, the Dockum sit-in was monumental but did not gain the nation’s attention in the press. In history books Dockum’s three-week long protest has been over-shadowed by the Woolworth's counter sit-in in Greensboro, N.C. which occurred a year-and-a half later.

A special event is taking place to commemorate the sit-from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 11). It begins at 10 a.m. with a walk from the “A. Price Woodard Park” at 401 W. Douglas Ave and ends up at the “Chester I. Lewis Reflection Square Park” at 205 E. Douglas.

The Wichita Branch of the NAACP will host a ceremony after the walk which will include awards, tributes and comments from local Dockum sit-in participants. City officials will also be there.

The free event is open to the public. The public is encouraged to bring own lawn chairs and dress for hot August weather.

“We're very proud of the young men and women who took that effort so long ago not realizing what the impact was going to be, but it made a very significant impact on the fabric of our country with this lunch counter sit-in and this demonstration and basically the means to say that we want equal treatment,” said event organizer Larry Burks Sr.