Fact Friday 205 - Civil Rights Sit-ins at Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Happy Friday!


On June 29, 1954, four African American men - Dr. Reginald Hawkins, Thomas Wyche, Charles V. Bell, & W.W. Twitty - conducted the first sit-in in Charlotte’s history at Charlotte Douglas International Airport's newly-opened Airport 77 Restaurant. The four men sat down at a table, but were eventually forced to eat their meal in an employee break room. A two-year legal battle followed, with the court ruling that because the restaurant was located in an airport terminal whose construction had been funded by the federal government for interstate transportation, it must be desegregated. The restaurant began serving African Americans in their main dining room in 1956, making the Airport 77 sit-in one of the earliest successful sit-ins in the South.


Airport “77” Restaurant, Douglas Municipal Airport, undated. MS0121 Mary Boyer collection of historical postcards and papers, UNC Charlotte.


Until next week!


Email me at chris@704shop.com if you have interesting Charlotte facts you’d like to share or just to provide feedback!

Information taken from:

UNC Charlotte Special Collections Instagram - @unccspeccoll

“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass