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A Reflection on History

Etiquette and the Civil Rights Movement

Etiquette is defined as the customary code of behavior in society among members in a particular group according to the conventions in society.

We are making history during this unsettling time. The protests in the United States have spread and made a global impact as a reaction to the treatment of African Americans and how their lives are valued. I’m reminded of history during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. During the Civil Rights era several sit in demonstration were done by students at the countertop of businesses. To carry out these demonstrations a code of ethics was established – The Do’s and Don’t’s in a sit in movement . Below are some of the rules during protest.


Do’s and Don’ts during the Sit- In Movement


Do show yourself friendly on the counter at all times

Do sit straight and always face the counter

Don't strike back, or curse back if attacked

Don't laugh out

Don't hold conversations

Don't block entrances

Dress in Sunday clothing best


The code of ethics was established with the belief that the students would project something that the entire community could rally around and support .


The 2020 protests have taken on their own code of behavior. It is a reflection of the times and the reaction to the social contract that has been broken. Hopefully, change will take place.– May we remember to all March forward in respect and honor Lady Justice.




LaDonna G. Carter is an etiquette consultant with Elements of Society.Looking for solutions to your etiquette dilemmas or for a seminar? She can be contacted via web www.elementsofsociety.com or follow her on twitter @etiquette2u.

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