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Sometimes, Sitting for Something Moves a Nation- The Greensboro Four

Sit and make a point. Have you heard the adage, stand for something? A good strategy , but there comes a time when marching around  will not make a statement or a difference.

This was the case, February 1, 1960 when the Greensboro Four took a seat at the counter of the Woolsworth.
GREENSBORO FOUR were civil rights activists. Four black freshmen at North Carolina A&T State University, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair, Jr., and David Richmond, took seats at the segregated lunch counter of F. W. Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C. They were refused service and sat peacefully until the store closed. They returned the next day, along with about 25 other students, and their requests were again denied.

The Greensboro Four inspired similar sit-ins across the state and by the end of February; such protests were taking place across the South. Finally in July, Woolworth's integrated all of its stores. The four have become icons of the civil rights movement.

1) JIBREEL KHAZAN (Ezell Blair Jr.) - One of the original four who took part in the Woolworth sit-ins. A Greensboro native, he graduated from Dudley High School and received a B.S. in sociology from North Carolina A&T State University in 1963. While a student at A&T, Khazan was president of the junior class, the student government association, the campus NAACP and the Greensboro Congress for Racial Equality. He attended law school at Howard University for almost a year. He became a member of the New England Islamic Center in 1968 and took on his present name.

 2)FRANKLIN EUGENE MCCAIN  One of the original four who took part in the Woolworth sit-ins. He was born in Union County, and reared in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Eastern High School in Washington. He received a B.S. degree in chemistry and biology from North Carolina A&T State University in 1964. While he was an A&T student, he roomed with David Richmond -- another of the original sit-in participants -- and around the corner from Ezell Blair Jr. and Joseph McNeil on the second floor of Scott Hall. He joined the Celanese Corporation in Charlotte in 1965 as a chemist and was head of the company's office in Shelby, while continuing to live in Charlotte. He was married to the former Bettye Davis until his death, January 2014. They have three sons.

3) lJOSEPH ALFRED MCNEIL - One of the original four taking part in the Woolworth sit-ins. A Wilmington native, he graduated from Williston Senior High School. McNeil earned a degree in engineering physics from North Carolina A&T State University in 1963. His roommate at Scott Hall on the A&T campus was another sit-in participant; Ezell Blair Jr. McNeil spent six years as a U.S. Air Force officer and attained the rank of captain. He is now a major general in the Air Force Reserves. He worked in computer sales for IBM, as a commercial banker for Bankers Trust in New York City, and as a stock broker for E.F. Hutton in Fayetteville. He now resides in Hempstead, N.Y. He is married to the former Ina Brown, and they have five children. 

4) DAVID LEINAIL RICHMOND was one of the original four, taking part in the Woolworth sit-ins. He was born in Greensboro and graduated from Dudley High School. At A&T, he majored in business administration and accounting. After leaving A&T, he became a counselor-coordinator for the CETA program in Greensboro. He lived in the mountain community of Franklin for nine years, and then returned to Greensboro to take care of his parents and work as a housekeeping porter for Greensboro Health Care Center. In 1980, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Levi Coffin Award for "leadership in human rights, human relations, and human resources development in Greensboro." He was married and divorced twice and has two children with Yvonne Bryson. His son, Chip Richmond, was a starter on the football team at Wake Forest University. Richmond died of lung cancer on Dec. 7, 1990. He was 49 years old. A &T awarded him a posthumous honorary doctorate degree.

February One The Story of the Greensboro Four

 February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four is an intimate look at how four African-American freshmen at North Carolina A&T University took a stand for justice by sitting down at a Woolworth whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, Project Directors: Rebecca Cerese and Dr. Steven Channing Executive Producer: Dr. Steven Channing Producer: Rebecca Cerese Co-Producers: Cynthia Hill and Daniel Blake Smith Videographer: Warren Gentry Editor: Tom Vickers Website: pbs.org /independentlens/februaryone/
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