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International Civil Rights Museum Open On 50th Anniversary of Woolsworth Sit-in

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Earl Jones doesn’t hesitate to tell it like he perceives when it come to his journey in building the International Civil Rights Museum.

The former Woolsworth Five & Dime will open its doors as the International Civil Rights Museum on Monday February 1, 2010.

On Feb. 1, 1960, the dime store was the site of a sit-in by four N.C. A&T students who opposed the store’s policy of serving only white people at the lunch counter. A six-month protest ensued, triggering similar demonstrations across the South and helping to usher in the nationwide movement that ultimately ended the Jim Crow era of segregation.

Fourteen years ago, Jones a North Carolina General Assembly representative and County Commissioner Skip Alston came up with the idea to turn the closed store into a museum when word circulated that the building would be torn down and converted into a parking lot.

The two created a foundation and the fundraising began.

Initially donations coming by way of an annual banquet trickled in after a failed bond referendum. Jones himself was able to secure funds from the State for the project.

However last year an agreement was struck between the foundation and two investment groups to purchase $10 million in tax credits linked to the project.

In addition to $10 million from the sale of tax credits, local foundations and a variety of corporations made $4 million in new pledges to help complete the project.

Tax credits are purchased by private investors who use them to reduce their state and federal taxes on profits made in other business ventures.

A Gala will preceded the ribbon cutting festivities om Monday. Julian Bond and Tom Joyner will receive awards during the banquet.

A panel discussion headed by Ed Gordon with Jesse Jackson Sr., Al sharpton and Bennet College President Julianne Malveaux will be the highlight on the A&T campus.

Yolanda Adams will headline a spiritual gospel event on Sunday leading up to the ribbon cutting on Monday.

For more information you can click on http://www.sitinmovement.org

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