Founded in 1771 was the county of Guilford. It covers an area of North Carolina of 658 square miles. The county seat is Greensboro. Guilford County got its name from Francis North, 1st Earl of Guilford who was the father of Frederick North, Lord North. North was the British Prime Minister from 1770 until 1782.
Some of the early settlers were English Quakers, who settled along the Haw and Eno Rivers. Many of the descendents of the Quakers are still living in the county to this day.
Guilford County is rich in history pertaining to slavery and civil rights. Many of the residents of Guilford County were opposed to slavery before the Civil War. It was a stop over for the famous Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad provided escaped slaves a route to freedom. The founder of the railway was a resident and native of Guilford County, Levi Coffin. History records show that Levi was responsible for personally assisting over 2,000 slaves escape to their freedom before the war.
What is known as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro started out in 1891 as the state’s first and only public supported institution of higher learning and housed only women, in 1932 it became known as the Women’s College of North Carolina and was the third largest women’s university in the world, then in 1963 the final name change was made to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, because this is when they began to admit men into the school.
Guilford County is known for the 1960 incident, which led to a major development in the American Civil Rights movement, when four black students decided to do a sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, which was an all white agenda. The students were arrested, but their actions led to other college students both black and white to take a stand against racism. This incident was a major stand for the desegregation in Gilford County and became known as the Greensboro Four. This was significant as it spread to 54 cities in 9 states and Woolworths agreed to desegregate all their other lunch counters, and other restaurants followed suit.