GREENSBORO, N.C. — On February 1, 1960, four Black North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University students took a bold and non-violent step against segregation. Jibreel Khazan (Ezell Blair Jr.), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond, better known collectively as the A&T Four, staged a sit-in at a whites-only Woolworth’s lunch Counter in downtown Greensboro.
Even though the students were denied service, they remained strong and refused to give up their seats. The courageous sit-in movement quickly spread to other college towns throughout the South. By the end of March, the movement had spread to 55 cities in 13 states.
As a result of the A&T Four’s brave action, along with other community leaders and students, dining facilities and other establishments were forced to integrate by the summer of 1960. The A&T Four sit-in was a major turning point in Black and American history, bringing the on-going fight for civil rights to the forefront on a national level.
61 years later, North Carolina A&T State University is preparing to honor the legacy of the A&T Four with a virtual tribute titled “It’s About Us.” Each year, the university honors the A&T Four on campus with an in-person breakfast program, guest speakers, laying of the wreath ceremony, panel discussions, and other long-standing activities. But, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony will be virtual this year to protect the health and safety of students, alumni, staff members, and the public.
The live presentation will feature tributes by current N.C. A&T students and alumni, representatives from Dudley High School Academy, Bennett College, family members of the four, the traditional solemn wreath-laying ceremony and more.
In addition to honoring the A&T Four, N.C. A&T will reveal the 2021 Human Rights medalist recipient. The medal is given to a deserving citizen selected from nominations submitted to the University Awards Committee. A&T bestows the annual award to recognize individuals who have endeavored to correct societal injustice and have significantly contributed to the betterment of the world.
The virtual sit-in tribute will be streamed live on the university’s Facebook Page on Monday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The public can also view the program for free using an online link. Registration, however, is required.