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Stores in Memphis Desegregate Lunch Counters and Dining Rooms

Feb. 6, 1962 - Twenty-nine Memphis stores desegregated dining rooms and lunch counters today. The move came quietly after meetings between Negro leaders and merchants. The stores represented 10 companies. Most of the participating companies also desegregated rest rooms. “The decision to desegregate was based on the wish to move with the community and help keep Memphis a peaceful and prosperous city,” a spokesman for the companies said. “We feel that this decision will be received with understanding and goodwill, just as it has been in other fine Southern communities like Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, Richmond, Dallas, Norfolk, Charlotte, Miami, Houston, Jacksonville, Greensboro, and Lynchburg.” Several Negroes entered the newly integrated lunch counters and were served. State officials and policemen had been posted nearby in case of trouble, but the few white customers paid little attention to the Negroes.

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