Harry Golden strikes blow for gradualism

“Last week [after proposing the widely publicized Golden Vertical Negro Plan, Harry] Golden proudly disclosed an even more ambitious formula for desegregation: the Golden Out-of-Order Plan.
“In Charlotte, whose population is 27% Negro, he persuaded a department-store manager to hang an ‘out-of-order’ sign on the drinking fountain reserved for white customers.
“In a few days, reported Golden, white and Negro customers were cheerfully sharing the ‘Colored’ drinking fountain. ‘It is possible,’ he concluded, ‘that whites may accept desegregation, if they are assured that the segregated facilities still exist, albeit “out-of-order.” My key to the plan is to keep the sign up for at least two years. We must do this thing gradually.’ “
— From Time magazine, April 1, 1957