Highlighting the Greensboro Four 63 years after sit-in
Four teenage students refused to leave a Greensboro lunch counter on Feb. 1, 1960.
GREENSBORO, N.C. (WBTV) - Wednesday marks the first day of Black History Month in the United States. At WBTV, we want to pay tribute to the generations of Black Americans who struggled and sacrificed to be treated equally.
On Feb. 1, 1960 - 63 years ago - four young men in North Carolina made a sacrifice and changed the face of history.
Franklin McCain, David Richmond, Ezell Blair and Joseph McNeil were teenage freshmen at North Carolina A&T University. They’re now known as the Greensboro Four.
The students made a statement by sitting at the segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro.
McCain said the four were prepared for whatever the consequence would be.
“One of two things were going to happen to me,” McCain said. “I was going to jail for a long, long time while I was going to have my head spit open. I’d come back in a pine box. Those were the only two options.”
When the four friends sat down at the lunch counter, a waitress told them that Blacks weren’t served there. The store manager asked them to leave. But they stayed in their seats.
The manager called the Greensboro police chief, who said that he could do nothing as long as they remained quiet.
The store closed early, and the four students left peacefully. It was the start of the sit-in movement.
The peaceful protests soon spread to other states in the South, and even the North.
Six months after the sit-in movement started, the Greensboro Woolworth’s finally began serving Blacks at its lunch counter.
Within the first week, 300 African-Americans ate at that lunch counter, all because of those four young men’s courage, principles, and persistence.
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