New York University will host two workshops for K-12 teachers on the sit-in movement, protests, and legal change in the 1960s.

Poster for event sharing date and location information

On Saturday, February 9th from 9 a.m. until noon, NYU will host two workshops for K-12 teachers on the sit-in movement, protests, and legal change in the 1960s. Through the discussion of two new books on sit-ins and student activism in the civil rights era, the workshops will offer a dive into civil rights activism and provide educators with tools for teaching this history in their classrooms.

The Workshops:

The Sit-in Movement, Free Speech on Campus
Presented by Robert Cohen, NYU Steinhardt Professor of History and Social Studies

This workshop will feature a discussion of Cohen’s new book, Howard Zinn’s Southern Diary: Sit-Ins, Civil Rights, and Black Women’s Student Activism. The book provides an account of Howard Zinn’s formative years as an educator and civil rights activist at Spelman College. In the book, Cohen presents a thorough historical overview and entrée to Zinn’s diary – which offers insight into how young Black women fought paternalism on campus and how Zinn was later dismissed for supporting them.

Cohen will also be joined by Betty Steven Walker and Marie Thomas, two veterans of the Atlanta sit-in and Spelman College student movements.

The Sit-ins: Protest and Legal Change in the Civil Rights Era
Presented by Christopher W. Schmidt, Professor of Law & Associate Dean at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation

This workshop will highlight Schmidt’s book, The Sit-Ins: Protest & Legal Change in the Civil Rights Era. This book tells the story of the student lunch counter protests in the 1960s and the national debate they sparked over the meaning of the constitutional right of all Americans to equal protection of the law. Schmidt describes how behind the now-iconic scenes of African American college students sitting in quiet defiance at “white only” lunch counters lies a series of underappreciated legal dilemmas about the meaning of the Constitution, the capacity of legal institutions to remedy different forms of injustice, and the relationship between legal reform and social change.


Teachers will be given free copies of both books discussed at this event.

The event will take place at NYU School of Law’s Greenberg Lounge at Vanderbilt Hall (40 Washington Square South). This event is being coordinated through a partnership with NYU Steinhardt, NYU School of Law, the Constitutional Sources Project, the Institute for Constitutional History at George Washington University and the New York Historical Society.

Teachers interested in attending should RSVP to Robert Cohen at Interested journalists should RSVP to Jordan Bennett at

About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Located in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School's mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit

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Jordan Bennett
Jordan Bennett
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