Google is honoring the 60th anniversary of a milestone in the civil rights movement — the Greensboro sit-ins — with a Doodle featuring a diorama of the Greensboro Four.
On Feb. 1, 1960, four black college students, Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain and Joseph McNeil, staged a sit-in at the segregated lunch counter of a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina. Inspired by the nonviolent-protest techniques of Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, the four were motivated to protest after the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. Eventually, tens of thousands of people joined sit-ins that grew out of that first event, generating extensive media coverage that helped push the civil rights movement forward.
“Today’s Doodle diorama not only pays homage to the sit-in, but also to everything that came as a result: changes in our country to make it more possible for all Americans — no matter their race, color or creed — to live to their full potential,” said Karen Collins, the artist behind the diorama.
Based in Compton, California, Collins is founder of the African American Miniature Museum, which features dioramas representing black history in the US. Saturday is also the start of Black History Month in the US.
Collins began making miniatures and dioramas as an adult, because as a child, her family couldn’t afford to support the activity. She found solace in miniatures after her son was incarcerated, and the dioramas took on the greater purpose of telling important stories, and she formed the museum.
“For me, the museum was a way to turn the negativity into something positive and share the stories of our ancestors’ strength and perseverance through hardship,” Collins said. “I want young people to learn about those that came before them who sacrificed to help make the lives they live today possible. Most importantly, I want them to see that we each have the power to make it through difficult times to thrive and hopefully make things better for those who come after us.”