The young African-Americans who in 1958 staged a sit-in at the Dockum Drugs lunch counter didn’t know it, but they were making history. It’s time for Wichita to honor that history.
As a recent reunion of participants revealed, the Dockum sit-in — perhaps the first protest of its kind in the nation — helped end segregation locally and establish a strategy of nonviolent resistance in the civil rights movement. Only in recent years have historians begun to recognize the importance of their achievement.
Now a group of Wichita youths is circulating a petition to honor the Dockum protests by renaming Reflection Square Park after Chester I. Lewis (in photo), local leader of the NAACP at the time.
How fitting — the “pocket park” on Douglas Avenue downtown, once the site of a Woolworth’s, already features a prominent lunch-counter sculpture in tribute to Wichita’s Dockum sit-in.
Posted by Randy Scholfield
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