Charlotte, NC, celebrates 1963 'eat-in' that desegregated restaurants, set example for South

In the spring of 1963, a prominent civil rights leader led dozens of protesters on a march from a predominantly African-American college campus to the center of Charlotte's downtown.

At the rally, Dr. Reginald Hawkins warned city leaders that if something wasn't done to end segregation, future marches might not be so peaceful

Nearly two weeks later, civil rights and white business leaders ate lunch together in segregated restaurants to help integrate those establishments and hotels.

The city's community relations director says it was a turning point in Charlotte's emergence as a New South city. It helped Charlotte avoid the violence that marred other Southern cities grappling with desegregation.

That lunch is being remembered this month with a series of events, including a panel discussion on race relations.