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Greensboro Information

Greensboro is in the Piedmont Triad, the central part of the state, and has a population of over 273,000. The Coliseum provides a great deal of entertainment for the city, and it hosts the annual, nationally televised ACC semifinal basketball tournament.

It is quite the educational center with Guilford College, Bennett College, Greensboro College and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. There are also two technical schools and a divinity school. These institutions of higher learning were started in the 1830s by the Quakers and the Methodists.

The history of Greensboro starts around 1808 when it was named the county seat of Guilford County. Named for General Nathanael Greene, active in the Revolutionary War, it had almost 500 residents at first. General Greene did not win the battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781 against the English General, Cornwallis, but he damaged his army to such an extent the English left the state and went into Virginia where they were defeated by the Americans. General Greene was considered a war hero for his part in this major event in the war.

In 1828, the first cotton mill was built and cotton material was sent out of state. Greensboro later became a major textile center when the Cone brothers set up mills in the 1940s and became the biggest producers of denim in the world. Burlington Mills followed as leaders in rayon production and Bluebell Mills produced most of America's overalls.

The first railroad line arrived in 1856; eventually there were so many other lines that Greensboro was called "The Gate City" by 1891. Greensboro was an east-west and north-south conduit for the state for business and educational interests.

The Underground Railroad was active in Greensboro due to the presence of the Quakers with Vestal Coffin as leader. After the Civil War, the city manufactured terra cotta pipe from the red clay in the area. The growing of tobacco increased and a factory was built in the 1950s. The tobacco industry has greatly diminished over time.

The famous Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in by African-American college students occurred downtown in 1960. Oddly enough, Greensboro had already elected an African-American to city council in 1951, but it remained a segregated city. A section of the lunch counter is in the Smithsonian Institution. The actual Woolworth's in Greensboro is called the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, and is a valuable teaching center.

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