Crowds gather in Asheboro to commemorate civil rights

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ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Thousands of people are gathering on the National Mall this week to remember the original march on Washington 50 years ago.

In honor of that march, another march took place in Asheboro Saturday morning at the site of one of many civil rights movements in the Piedmont.

More than 50 years ago, 60 people were arrested for protesting their right to eat at two restaurants in downtown Asheboro — places they were banned from because of their skin color.

A Historical marker commemorating the protest in Asheboro was revealed to the community and original protest participants.

The marker on Sunset Avenue sits in front of Hop's Bar-B-Que to honor the 120 people that participated on January 27, 1964. Of the 120 people, 60 were arrested by Asheboro police and taken to jail.

According to the original report the Asheboro Courier-Tribune printed on the protest date, 24 juveniles and 26 adults were charged "with breaking a local ordinance dealing with congregating in the doorway of a business.”

City Manager John Ogburn said the 60 were charged and found guilty but did not serve a sentence based on the prayer for judgment law. The price of the posted bail was $25.

NAACP Chapter President Donald Matthews helped spearhead the historical marker that cost $2,500 for construction and design, along with the city of Asheboro and Mayor David Smith.

International Civil Rights Center and Museum Executive Director Bamidele Demerson said it is nice to see other municipalities honoring sit-in movements in other areas of the Triad.

"The sit-ins have a long history and certainly we were not the first," Demerson said. "We see markers we have to think about those that may be honored but also those who are not honored by name who played such a significant role because change is a group effort."

The marker on Sunset Avenue reads: "On January 27, 1964, 60 African-Americans were arrested at Hop's Bar-B-Que and the Little Castle Sandwich shop, part of the Sunset Theatre. These sit-ins were part of the national drive for integration and civil rights."