Ambassador Highlights Segregation in Raleigh Restaurants

A sign indicating segregated facilities, now in the collection of the N.C. Museum of History

A sign indicating segregated facilities, now in the collection of
the N.C. Museum of History

On April 30, 1963, Angie Brooks and Allard Lowenstein attempted to have lunch together at two restaurants in downtown Raleigh but they were denied service because Brooks was African.

Angie Brooks, Liberia’s United Nations ambassador and a Shaw University graduate, was in Raleigh to deliver a speech at N.C. State University. After the speech, Allard Lowenstein, a professor at North Carolina State University, invited the ambassador to lunch. The pair, with a few students in tow, visited the S & W Cafeteria and Sir Walter Coffee Shop., despite her diplomatic credentials, Brooks was refused service at both establishments.  In fact, the manager at the coffee shop went so far as to say that he would not serve Brooks, but could offer her a job as a cook or a waitress.

The media was soon alerted and the press was on hand to report the story. The incident brought national attention to North Carolina, and Gov. Terry Sanford issued an apology to Brooks on behalf of the state. Since Lowenstein chose restaurants that were frequented by state officials, many believed he was an agitator who wanted to stir up controversy. Although he was aware that the establishments were segregated, he denied staging the event.

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3 responses to “Ambassador Highlights Segregation in Raleigh Restaurants”

  1. Hope Blackford says :

    Just a question…was the Ambassador African-American because she was an native African who went to school in the USA? Not sure how the identifier is being used here.



    Hope Blackford Corresponding Secretary Assistant Editor – Wake Treasures Wake County Genealogical Society Newsletter Co-Editor North Carolina Chapter Palatines to America Raleigh, North Carolina

    • NC Culture says :

      Hi Hope,

      Sorry for the unclear language. The Ambassador was a native Liberian, went to school in Raleigh and died in the U.S. We used “African-American” to denote her skin color. It wasn’t the best way to say it. Thanks for pointing that out, and thanks for following us!

  2. Emma says :

    It was actually the manager at the Sir Walter Hotel who offered Brooks a job as a cook or waitress, according to the Technician article published the next day:

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