This bronze sculpture, created by artist Georgia Gerber, memorializes the months-long sit-in of African American college students in the former Dockum's Drugstore, which took place in July-August 1954. Ultimately, the sit-in was successful; the owner allowed the participants to eat at the counter and soon the city began to desegregate.
On July 19, 1958,
tired of the injustice caused by segregation, a group of African American
youths started a sit-in protest at Dockum’s Drugstore in Wichita, Kansas. A
sit-in (or sit-down) is a form of direct action that involves one or more
people occupying an area for a protest, often to promote political, social, or
economic change. After three weeks of protest, the management relented,
choosing to begin serving both black and white customers alike.
While not quite as
famous as other sit-ins that came later, the Dockum’s protest remains a pivotal
moment in desegregation in the state of Kansas. In 1998, this sculpture was
first unveiled to the public, in memoriam of the original protest.
The sculpture depicts
a man spinning his young boy on the chair, the waitress, and another customer
waiting for her meal. It is part of the Streetscape installation,
which is spread out over a four-block area. It features various sculptures
depicting children playing, as well as adults. Two children riding scooters are
located near the counter.
was commissioned as part of a downtown revitalization project. The open
seats are open for local workers in the area to sit on during their lunch