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The Sit-In Movement Commonlit Answers

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  • 8th Grade
  • Lexile: 1020

Source: The Sit-In Movement by USHistory.org

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
Which statement best identifies the central idea of the text?Despite the violence civil rights activists endured, the sit-in movement influenced desegregation and inspired other protests.
How does the description of how the protesters were treated contribute to the main idea of the text?It highlights the bravery and courage of the protesters.
What is the meaning of “reprisal” in paragraph 4?retaliation
How does paragraph 7 contribute to the ideas in the text?It describes how a different protest emerged that was inspired by the success of the sit-in movement.

Write a summary of the article in 4-5 sentences.

The article discusses the sit-in movement, a pivotal part of the Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1968, which aimed to end racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans in the United States.

It highlights the nonviolent approach initiated on February 1, 1960, by four African American college students at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, marking the birth of the civil rights sit-in.

Despite facing intimidation, threats, and violence, protesters adhered to a strict nonviolent discipline, which played a crucial role in challenging segregation policies.

The success of the sit-in movement inspired further actions, such as the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the freedom rides, contributing significantly to the desegregation efforts across the South and advancing the broader Civil Rights Movement.

Discussion Answers

Consider other forms of protesting, such as marching and rioting. In your opinion, are sit- ins an effective form of protest? Why or why not? Put yourself in the protestors’ shoes. Do you think that you could have sat there peacefully while people poured ketchup or hot liquids on you?

Sit-ins represent a powerful and effective form of protest, particularly within the context of the Civil Rights Movement.

They work on the principle of nonviolent resistance, drawing public attention to injustices through peaceful means. This approach forces observers and those in power to confront the issues at hand without giving them the excuse to dismiss the protest due to violence.

Sit-ins have been effective because they create a visual and moral contrast between the peaceful protesters and the aggressive responses they often provoke, thus garnering sympathy and support for their cause from the wider public and international community.

The effectiveness of sit-ins compared to other forms of protesting, such as marching or rioting, lies in their ability to highlight the peaceful determination of protesters against the backdrop of the violent or unjust system they oppose.

Marching brings visibility and unity to a cause, allowing a large number of people to demonstrate their support publicly.

Rioting, while it can draw immediate and intense attention to a cause, often results in backlash and can undermine public support due to the associated violence and destruction.

Putting oneself in the protesters’ shoes and enduring such calm under provocation would be extraordinarily challenging. The ability to sit peacefully while facing physical and verbal abuse requires immense mental strength, discipline, and commitment to the principles of nonviolence.

It’s a testament to the protesters’ resolve and belief in their cause, as well as their strategic understanding that enduring such treatment without retaliation would ultimately advance their cause more effectively than responding in kind.

Whether or not one believes they could maintain such composure under such circumstances depends on individual temperament, conviction in the cause, and perhaps most importantly, training and preparation for nonviolent protest.

The activists of the Civil Rights Movement, including those who participated in sit-ins, often underwent extensive training to prepare themselves for these challenges.


What forms of protest do you see occurring today? In your opinion, is it more common to see violent or peaceful protests? How are the protests of the Civils Rights movement still continuing today? What have you seen in the news or in your own towns and communities?

Today, there are all kinds of protests happening around the world. I see a lot of peaceful protests, like marches and rallies where people hold up signs and chant together to share their message.

There’s also stuff like online petitions and social media campaigns, which are super common because almost everyone’s online these days. But sometimes, there are violent protests too, where things can get pretty intense with property damage or clashes with the police.

From what I’ve seen, peaceful protests are more common, but it’s usually the violent ones that get more attention in the news because they’re dramatic and kind of scary.

The protests from the Civil Rights movement, like those sit-ins and marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., are still influencing protests today. Many people use peaceful methods from back then to try and get change now. Like, when people march together in huge groups for things like climate change or for equal rights for everyone, no matter their race, gender, or who they love.

These methods are a way to show unity and to try and make people listen to what they have to say without hurting anyone.

In my own town and what I’ve seen in the news, there have been protests about all sorts of things, like making sure everyone’s treated fairly by the police, helping protect the environment, and making sure everyone has the same rights. Most of these protests are peaceful, with people coming together to try and make a difference.

It’s like they’re carrying on what the Civil Rights movement started, showing that you don’t need to be violent to be heard and that standing together in peace can be really powerful.


In the context of the article, how do people create change? What was required of civil rights activists in order to achieve their goals? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

In the context of the article about the Sit-In Movement, people create change through nonviolent protests, unity, and perseverance. Civil rights activists, like those in the 1960s, had to be incredibly patient, brave, and disciplined to achieve their goals.

They used sit-ins at lunch counters, peaceful marches, and other forms of nonviolent resistance to draw attention to the injustices of segregation and racial discrimination. For example, the article mentions how four African American college students sat at a Woolworth’s lunch counter, refusing to leave when denied service because of their race.

Despite facing threats and violence, they and many others who joined the movement remained peaceful, which eventually led to the desegregation of restaurants and other public places in the South.

Achieving these goals required a lot from the activists. They had to be willing to face arrest, physical harm, and constant threats without fighting back. The article highlights how protesters, when attacked, would not retaliate but rather would “curl up into a ball on the floor and take the punishment.” This nonviolent approach made their cause more sympathetic to the broader public and helped gain support across the country and the world.

Looking at my own experience and what I’ve learned in history, it’s clear that creating change often requires a lot of sacrifice and resilience.

For instance, in learning about Nelson Mandela and his fight against apartheid in South Africa, I saw similarities to the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. Mandela also believed in the power of nonviolent protest and endured 27 years in prison before he saw the end of apartheid.

Art and literature have also reflected these themes of struggle and change. For instance, the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee explores racial injustice in the South and shows how standing up for what’s right, even when it’s difficult, can inspire change in people’s hearts and minds.

All these examples show that creating change requires the courage to stand up against injustice and the wisdom to do so in a way that brings people together rather than tearing them apart.


Why does promoting equal rights promote peace? Do you believe that the protestors of the sit-in movement were successful in promoting peace?

Promoting equal rights promotes peace because there’s less reason for conflict when everyone has the same rights and opportunities. When people feel respected and valued in society, regardless of their race, gender, or background, it reduces feelings of resentment and injustice.

This kind of environment allows for more understanding and cooperation among different groups, leading to a more peaceful and harmonious community.

Yes, I believe the protestors of the sit-in movement were successful in promoting peace. Through their nonviolent actions, they demonstrated the power of peaceful protest and the moral high ground of their cause.

Their approach not only challenged the unjust laws of segregation but also did so in a way that emphasized unity and peace. By refusing to retaliate against violence and aggression, they highlighted the unjust nature of the system they were fighting against and garnered wider support for their cause.

Their success can be seen in the eventual desegregation of public spaces in the South and their broader impact on the Civil Rights Movement. The sit-ins inspired other nonviolent protests and played a crucial role in passing civil rights legislation.

By showing that change could be achieved peacefully, the sit-in protestors contributed to a legacy of promoting peace through equality and justice.

This approach has influenced countless other movements worldwide, showing that promoting equal rights is not just about removing barriers but also about building a more peaceful and just society.

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