NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Thursday, fourth-grade students at Explore! Community School got a taste of a historic day in Nashville’s Civil Rights history.
Sixty years ago on February 13th, African American students began a series of sit-ins at public lunch counters in Music City to fight for the right to sit at the same tables at white students.
“It wasn’t fair because some people couldn’t eat here, some people could,” said student Domilique Browder.
The living history lesson happened on the second floor of Woolworth’s on Fifth, one of the several lunch counters in Nashville where African American students staged a series of peaceful protests.
“We get to learn more about history and we get to meet some people,” said student Ciara Adam.
Among them, those who’ve been part of history themselves, like Vencen Horsley.
“The times I was put in jail, and the times I was physically abused was worthwhile,” said Horlsey. “When I look at see these young people enjoying themselves, then I can say, truthfully, all my experiences was worthwhile.”
For the students, the feelings are mixed.
“I’m like ‘Wow, we’re really here,'” said student Abbi Staten.
“Really happy, and sad at the same time,” said Kristina Bean.
Bean explained why.
“Because they did all that for us,” said Bean.
It’s history the students have been learning about for the last couple of months.
“Since Martin Luther King Jr. and other people, they changed the laws so blacks and whites can sit at the same table,” said student Mylah Pulse.
“I think it’s very valuable and they’ve worked so hard for this moment and I wish they could be here to be in this moment and to see what they have changed,” said student Brey Bacher.
That’s where Horsley hopes students will be inspired.
“My challenge to the children, every generation, is they must make an effort to make their communities better,” said Horsley.
To complete the history lesson, students also went to the downtown library and First Baptist Church Capitol Hill.
That’s where student activists in the 1960s learned non-violent tactics for the demonstrations.