101 Jackson Drive
May 2, 1963
Frank O. Sherrill
S & W Cafeteria
116 West Trade Street
Dear Mr. Sherrill,
I have been intending to write S&W for some weeks now — but procrastination — like compromise with one’s own principles — is an all-too-common trait. The compromise with one’s self — particularly for a democrat (and that is with a small “d”), be he Northern or Southern, in this area — seems necessary for survival.
Perhaps it just seems this way, and if more of us spoke up, the daily call to compromise would be alleviated. Which is why this letter.
I would hope that for logical, and moral, reasons you would do all in your power to see that the S&W cafeterias soon become desegregated. If, however, neither logic nor morality motivate you, I would hope that national interest will. The very recent incident in Raleigh in which a diplomatic representative was refused service in one of your establishments is likely to resound the world over.
During the years I lived in Europe, the question I was asked most frequently by Europeans was to the effect “how do you explain your South?” I hope that some day soon I shall be able to explain it in terms of progress rather than in those of apology.
I am sure there are literally thousands of other people in Charlotte and the rest of North Carolina who would make it a point, like me, to patronize S&W if — and only if — S&W opens its doors to everyone.
Citation: Tripp, Ellen. “Letter in Support of Desegregation of S&W Cafeteria.” Google Arts & Culture Institute, 2 May 1963, https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/letter-in-support-of-desegregation-of-s-w-cafeteria-frank-o-sherrill/_AFFZ9pz8Osxpg?hl=en. Accessed 19 June 2023
- What strategies or actions did this citizen take to achieve desegregation?
- How does Ms. Tripp, the author of the letter, describe what is happening on a national level regarding the desegregation of Charlotte’s public spaces?
- Ms. Tripp writes: “During the years I lived in Europe, the question I was asked most frequently by Europeans was to the effect ‘how do you explain your South?’ I hope that some day soon I shall be able to explain it in terms of progress rather than in those of apology.” What might she mean by this?
Small-d democrat: someone who believes in the principles of a democracy, government by the people, but is not necessarily a member of the Democratic Party
Alleviated: made easier
Diplomatic representative: person appointed by a national government to conduct official negotiations and maintain political, economic, and social relations with another country or countries
Progressive: of, relating to, or characterized by progress; making use of or interested in new ideas, findings, or opportunities
Anachronism: an error in chronology
Patronize: spend money for goods or services at a business