Civil Rights Protest at Yellow Springs Barbershop, 1964
Yellow Springs was a small village of 4,200 that became the center of a national debate about civil rights when college students challenged a white barber, Lewis Gegner, who refused to serve black customers. Traveling through Yellow Springs, on Xenia Avenue you can still pass what used to be Gegner's Barbershop. Located a couple of blocks away is College Street and only a short distance from there is Antioch College. Students from Antioch and other nearby colleges participated in the protest.
Backstory and Context
On May 3, Judge Young rules that the section of the Public Accommodations Law pertaining to barbershops were unconstitutional. Then on May 4, over 600 people, participated in a protest march led by former Antioch president Arthur Morgan. Newspapers from around the country covered the event. During this time, the picketing continued. Gegner filed a suit with the Greene County Common Pleas Court in an attempt to get a restraining order against the protesters. On May 13, the village council agreed to adopt the new state anti-discrimination laws. The next sit-in was scheduled for May 16th, but it did not happen because Gegner kept his door to the shop locked.
Meanwhile, as Gegner keeps his door locked, the picketers grew to forty people. Another sit-in occurred on May 19th and this time there are multiple arrests for trespassing. The next day there is a plan for another sit-in and again Gegner locked his door. Those that had planned on being part of the sit-in join the picket line that had been established. However, an injunction was ordered, limiting the size of the picket to only four people.
"Former College Head Leads Protest March." May 5: F3. The Republican Courier. 1964.
"Yellow Springs Barber Seeks Ban On Pickets." May 3: 9. Greensboro Record. 1964.