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The Blue Boar Cafeteria was a regional home-style food chain primarily located in southern states. Organized by CORE and Raoul Cunningham, in the wake of the Greensboro and Nashville sit-ins, demonstrations and sit-ins were held in front of the Blue Boar and many other restaurants in downtown Louisville to advocate for desegregation. The Blue Boar Cafeteria was one of the sites of escalated violence by merchant policemen and customers against protesters. After protesting, only 24 of 135 restaurants opened their doors to people of color; the remaining restaurants did not welcome all races until the public accommodations law was implemented in 1963.

  • Blue Boar drawn advertisement
  • Louisville Courier-Journal photograph of sit-in on April 24, 1961 at the Blue Boar.
  • Louisville Courier-Journal photograph of protest on February 23, 1961.
The Blue Boar Cafeteria's location downtown made it a quick and easy place for downtown workers and shoppers to get home-style food at a good price. This food establishment was affordable for people of all financial backgrounds and would have been ideal for African-American workers and shoppers downtown as well. Because they were denied service by these food establishments, protesters targeted the Blue Boar as well as many other downtown restaurants for sit-ins and demonstrations to advocate for their cause.

In the wake of the Greensboro and Nashville sit-ins, Raul Cunningham united CORE and NAACP Youth Council to organize individuals to implement sit-ins, squat-ins, demonstrations, picketing, stand-ins, and more at downtown Louisville locations. This included restaurants, department stores, convenience stores, and more. Mostly high school students participated in demonstrations but adults were present as well. On April 24, 1961, one particular demonstration and sit-in was organized by Frank L. Stanley Jr. at the Blue Boar Cafeteria. Police stood by for about a hour while the demonstration took place and when they asked protesters to leave and they refused, 129 arrests were made on the charge of "breaching the peace." 

The Blue Boar is one of the many sites of sit-ins and demonstrations documented and land-marked because of the violent history associated with it. Many protesters were targeted by merchant policemen and customers. Prior to demonstrations, only 10 of 135 restaurants would provide service for people of color. After the demonstrations, only another 24 opened their doors for all. It was not until 1963 that the remaining 111 restaurants opened their doors for everyone due to legislation. After the 1960s, these restaurants started to decline and by the 1980s many has closed due to fast food chains and urbanization.
Louisville Courier-Journal April 25, 1961 - Front Page