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Junior ignites civil rights in Greensboro

Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010

While most of us have been reading textbooks or writing papers, Zimuzor Ugochukwu has been working towards a bigger purpose, making sure that Greensboro’s International Civil Rights Museum is brought to life. When the F.W. Woolworth’s store, site of the 1960s Greensboro sit-ins, was closed in 1993, it was originally planned to be turned into a museum. The original open date was 2002, but it has been a long, and for the most part, frozen process. After initially collecting donations for construction of the museum, the progress was stalled after finding a leak in the foundation, without an anticipated completion date. UNCG junior Zimuzor Ugochukwu, a political science and sociology major, had a big problem with the fact that the museum seem to be forgotten. “When I asked people if they knew where the (Woolsworth store) was they said no until I said it was across the street from the N club,” said Ugochukwu. Ugochukwu realized that students didn’t know a lot about Greensboro’s local civil rights history. She then decided to get the project moving forward. She knew though that she couldn’t do it by herself. “In January, when we were out of school, I went to the city of Greensboro’s website, to contact the city council members. I sent out a mass email to all the city council members, explaining what I wanted to do, and my goals for the project. None of them replied.” Instead of giving up, Ugochukwu became more aggressive. She sent an e-mail to Mayor Johnson about her ideas and shortly after received an e-mail giving her a date and time to meet the mayor. “At that time, I just had a jumble of ideas. (Mayor Johnson) gave me a lot of good resources, and what she gave me that day I was able to take and run with.” That’s how the “Ignite Greensboro [got 2?]” project came to be. “The Ignite Greensboro [got 2?] Project is a project aimed to restore faith and activity into the city of Greensboro by promoting student/community shareholdership of the International Civil Rights museum, as well as restoring a sense of obligation to learning about the culture and history of Greensboro,” said Ugochukwu. The “[got 2?]” part of the project’s name symbolizes a cup of coffee; the coffee that the four A&T; men were refused at the counter on Feb. 1, 1960 and is what Ugochukwu is asking students to donate. Now the Smithsonian has even gotten involved and has helped raise a significant chunk of money from private donors. They also agreed to loan out some Greensboro civil rights artifacts to the museum. A few weeks ago Ugochukwu started her first steps to involve the local universities. She held a rally at the Rawk at UNCG and had donation sites set up at the atrium and the EUC. “I’m so surprised by people’s receptiveness to the project, and I didn’t think people would give as much (money) as they did,” Ugochukwu said. Despite the rainy weather she raised $245 for the project in just two hours. Ugochukwu plans to hold fund-raising events for the project every two weeks at neighboring colleges and universities. The museum is currently scheduled to open February 2010 and Ugochukwu will present the project on April 7 at 5:30 pm to the Greensboro City Council. For more information visit or email Ugochukwu at [email protected].

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