On this day fifty-three years ago, four brave young men decided to stand up for what they believed to be right and just. They did not know the tremendous impact that they would have on their community, university, and nation as a whole. Today we would like to pay our respect and express our gratitude to Ezell Blair, Jr. (Jibreel Khazan), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil & David Richmond. The A&T Four.
On February 1st, 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina these four North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) freshmen students walked downtown and “sat – in” at the white–only lunch counter at Woolworth’s (Now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum). When they were denied service, they refused to leave and remained there until the store closed. The Greensboro sit-ins were an instrumental action, leading to increased national sentiment at a crucial period in US History.
A domino effect occurred following this bold event. On February 2nd, 1960 twenty–five other students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and other Greensboro colleges and universities joined them. Over the next 10 days, students across the state participated in similar sit–ins. By the third week of February in 1960, demonstrations had spread to at least 250 major cities and towns in the U.S. in which over 400 demonstrations took place by the end of 1960. Woolworth’s was desegregated by the end of July 1960.
The A&T Four left behind a legacy and as a result of this movement, significant events in civil rights history occurred:
- The passage of the 1960 Civil Rights Bill.
- The Interstate Commerce Commission ruling in September 1961 against racial segregation on interstate carriers and terminals.
- The first National Public Accommodations Act in 100 years.
Not only are we natives of Greensboro, North Carolina, but we are also Alumni of NC A&T, a wonderful Historical Black College University. AGGIE PRIDE!! Our hometown and institution means so much to us! They have both had a tremendous impact on shaping us into the young women we are today. It is wonderful to know that we come from a place where such an impactful event took place. These four young men forever changed the course of history by their bravery and courage. They are truly an example of how our decision can change a nation and potentially the world. Thank you A&T Four for making a true difference! Without these four men, we would not be able to experience the world as we know it today.