The Conservation Society of San Antonio
Woolworth's Civil Rights Story Spreading
Announcements > Woolworth’s Civil Rights Story Spreading
  • Beth Standifird
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San Antonio Conservation Society Announcement

September 27, 2018

The Houston Street facade of the Woolworth building features a large blade sign with the company name.
Looking at Woolworth’s on Alamo Plaza from E. Houston Street, c. 1981.

San Antonio made civil rights history on March 16, 1960. On that day, it became the first Southern City to desegregate its lunch counters voluntarily, without protest or incident. The 1921 Woolworth’s Building on Alamo Plaza was the most prominent of six lunch counters that integrated that day. At a celebratory banquet in San Antonio on March 19, Jackie Robinson likened the city’s positive action to his own integration of Major League Baseball. He told the New York Times, “It is a story that should be told around the world.”

Several modern day stakeholders agree. Not only should San Antonio’s civil rights story be told on Alamo Plaza, but preserving the Woolworth Building is essential to doing the story justice.  Among those speaking out are former City Councilman Mario Salas, National Endowment for the Humanities recipient Everett Fly, and Ramón Vásquez, executive director of the American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions.  Read what they had to say to Express-News reporter Scott Huddleston in, “Historic events collide at the site of Woolworth building.

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