Woman part of Nashville sit-ins returns to lunch counter for first time

Novella Page sits in the same seat at the counter at Woolworth on Thursday as she did when she was arrested during the lunch counter sit-ins in 1960. (WSMV)

A woman who was part of the Civil Rights movement in Nashville returned to the site of the Woolworth sit-ins on Thursday for the first time since 1960.

Novella Page, now 80, sat at the lunch counter at Woolworth and Fifth, which was a Woolworth five and dime store during the sit-ins in the 1960s. She sat on a stool in the same spot from when she was arrested in 1960.

“I have not been here in 60 years,” explained Page. “To walk in and be faced with black folk waiting on me and a black manager and to go to my number for stool and sit on that stool was an eerie feeling, but yet it was a satisfying feeling to think I could sit down and eat in a place that dehumanized me.”

At the time she was a student at Tennessee State University, hoping to end segregation at Nashville lunch counters.

“I’m blessed to be alive to tell the story because I was very active with the sit-ins,” said Page.

She was arrested that day along with other students from TSU, Fisk University and American Baptist College.

Things are much different today, but she doesn’t want anyone to forget how far we’ve come.

“This was history,” said Page. “I think our children, no matter what color, they need to know the history of the African-American struggle during the 50s, 60s and 70s, so it’s very important they know what happened.”

Page returned to Nashville to speak with students from Brooks Academy and Masters Academy as part of their summer enrichment program.

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