Ambassador Highlights Segregation in Raleigh Restaurants
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.
Other related resources:
- Celebrate Black History! from the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources
- A Change is Gonna Come, an online exhbit from the N.C. Museum of History
- A History of African Americans in North Carolina from N.C. Historical Publications
- Images related to civil rights from the State Archives
- Resources related to black history from the State Library
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