sit-in

/sit"in'/, n.
1. an organized passive protest, esp. against racial segregation, in which the demonstrators occupy seats prohibited to them, as in restaurants and other public places.
2. any organized protest in which a group of people peacefully occupy and refuse to leave a premises: Sixty students staged a sit-in outside the dean's office.
[1955-60; n. use of v. phrase sit in (a place); cf. -IN]

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▪ social protest
      a tactic of nonviolent civil disobedience. The demonstrators enter a business or a public place and remain seated until forcibly evicted or until their grievances are answered. Attempts to terminate the essentially passive sit-in often appear brutal, thus arousing sympathy for the demonstrators among moderates and noninvolved individuals. Following Mahatma Gandhi's (Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand) teaching, Indians employed the sit-in to great advantage during their struggle for independence from the British. Later, the sit-in was adopted as a major tactic in the civil-rights (civil rights movement) struggle of American blacks; the first prominent sit-in occurred at a Greensboro (North Carolina) lunch counter in 1960. Student activists adopted the tactic later in the decade in demonstrations against the Vietnam War.

      A tactic similar to the sit-in, the sit-down, has been used by unions to occupy plants of companies that were being struck. The sit-down was first used on a large scale in the United States during the United Automobile Workers' strike against the General Motors Corporation in 1937. See also civil disobedience.

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Universalium. 2010.

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