The Greensboro Coffee Cups Collaborative Walk is a self-guided walking tour featuring 7 sculptures around Greensboro’s Downtown.
“On February 1, 1960 the sit-in movement began. This historic event was commemorated by the creation of eight bronze coffee cups. Installed throughout downtown Greensboro and dedicated on the 50th anniversary of the inspired event when four African American students were refused service when ordering coffee, each bronze sculpture is placed on a stone pedestal, featuring the quote of an outstanding figure. Take the following tour to see seven of the eight pieces of the Coffee Cup Collaborative.”
The Education Cup is one of the most notable sculptures of the project. It is a bronze cup pierced by pencils, symbolizing the oppression of black students in educational institutions. This sculpture includes a quote by Booker T. Washington: “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” The sculpture was created by Gregory B. Colleton Jr. and is located next to the Central Library on North Church Street.
In the Face of Strange Fruit
In the Face of Strange Fruit was created by artist Derrick Monk, inspired by the Billie Holiday song Strange Fruit. The sculpture depicts the faces of those who struggled for freedom and equality. Included is a quote by Antoine De Saint-Exupery: “He who is different from me does not impoverish me – he enriches me.” The bronze sculpture is located on the lawn of the Greensboro Cultural Center on North Davie Street.
200 North Davie Street, Greensboro, NC
Cup of Freedom
The Cup of Freedom, located next to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum on Elm Street, was created by Greensboro artist Charles Jenkins. On the pedestal is a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The last cup installed for the project, it was unveiled on the 50th anniversary of the famous sit-in movement, on February 1, 2010.
132 South Elm Street, Greensboro, NC
Overcome, a coffee cup created by artist Rodney Bennett, is located on the Melvin Municipal Building lawn on South Greene Street. The sculpture includes a quote by Ambrose Redmoon: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”
300 West Washington Street, Greensboro, NC
Of his sculpture, artist Leo Morrissey has said that the cup, spoons and persons’ profiles represent the sit-in movement, the students and their collaborative spirit against injustice. Included is a quote by John Fitzgerald Kennedy: “It is in the American tradition to stand up for one’s rights – even if the new way to stand up for one’s rights is to sit down.” This stone pedestal and bronze sculpture is located outside the Carolina Theatre on South Greene Street.
310 South Greene Street, Greensboro, NC
Pearl of Equity
The Pearl of Equity is a cup shaped like a flower with a pearl on an oyster shell. The pearl represents the civil rights struggle, the shell the status quo, and the flower symbolizes spring and rebirth. Created by Greensboro artist Timothy L. Daniel, it is located on Hamburger Square on South Elm Street. A plate on the pedestal features a quote by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
345 South Elm Street, Greensboro, NC
The Awake Coffee Cup, created by Kurt Gabriel, is meant to awaken the world from the deep sleep of indifference. Sculpted with large letters and a chain symbolizing bondage, it is located in front of the J. Douglas Galyon Depot on East Washington Street.
236 East Washington Street, Greensboro, NC
Descriptions from: https://www.gpsmycity.com/tours/greensboro-coffee-cups-collaborative-walk-5617.html
Photos from: https://downtowngreensboro.org/listing-category/public-art/