Dozens gather to remember historic sit-in

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Something as simple as sitting down caused quite a stir in downtown 53 years ago Thursday. Dozens of people gathered to remember the 53rd anniversary of the Kress Gallery Sit-in.

Like most places in the 1960s, the Kress lunch counter in downtown Baton Rouge was segregated. On March 28,1960, a group of seven Southern University students challenged the norm and held a sit-in.

"A lot of people don't even realize what happened here," said Lorraine Slade with the Kress Gallery.

Exactly 53 years later, in the same room they were arrested for "disturbing the peace," people of all races gathered to celebrate those seven students. Dr. Rachel Emanuel says the documentary, "Taking a Seat for Justice: The 1960 Baton Rouge Sit-in", was her way of capturing their story for all to hear.

"They're inspiring because they were courageous. They're inspiring because they were taking a stand when a lot of people wouldn't or couldn't," said Emanuel.

Southern University Chancellor Dr. James Llorens says it's important for today's youth to recall the challenges past generations faced to help us progress.

"It's been 53 years, but it's not all over yet," said Llorens. "There are still some challenges as universities we face and a race we face."

Lorraine Slade with the Kress Gallery says they were honored to host the 53rd anniversary of the sit-in. Artist Taufeeq Muhammad unveiled a painting that will commemorate the seven students and the change they helped bring to the Capital City.

The seven students were expelled from Southern for participating in the sit-in. Several decades later, Southern gave honorary degrees to the students from the Kress sit-in and those expelled after other sit-ins in Baton Rouge.

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