Activate Now – Downtown Yellow Springs

Jun 2, 2014

This is the seventh stop of the Marching On project for the Hernd0n Gallery's current exhibition Unpacking the Archives: Frameworks for Change--Activate Now! The final picture in the above slideshow is a map showing all of the stops on this tour of activism.

In the early 1960s, the Antioch College campus and the village of Yellow Springs were united in action against the last vestiges of discrimination in public accommodations in the village. Lewis Gegner refused to cut Black men’s hair in his downtown barbershop despite court orders to integrate.

From in front of the Presbyterian Church, there’s a good view of Gegner’s shop. Here, the community of Yellow Springs gathered on March 14, 1964, lining both sides of Xenia Avenue as students from nearby Central State and Wilberforce Colleges joined Antioch students in a protest that escalated into a disturbance covered on the national evening news.

Below is an audio clip from a 1963 WYSO broadcast describing the arrest of five picketers in front of Gegner’s barber shop.