"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
"Black History Month" begins this Saturday, but Feb. 1st holds a special meaning this year for North Carolina.
On Feb. 1, 1960, four African-American students from North Carolina A&T State University sat down at the whites-only lunch counter at the F.W. Woolworth's store in downtown Greensboro.
That single act was instrumental in igniting nationwide nonviolent protest and changing national sentiment in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
In January, one of the four, Franklin McCain, passed away.
He was 73 years old.
More than 1,000 mourners paid their respects at his memorial service right here in Charlotte.
At the service, his family said he was always just a husband and father in their eyes, he had simply done what he thought was the right thing to do.
54 years later, it's hard to comprehend just how powerful the simple act of sitting down for lunch was.
We owe so much to these four men, now memorialized on the A&T campus as the FEBRUARY ONE group.
May we take time this month to remember and reflect on the courage and unwavering commitment of these four pioneering Tar Heels."