Four civil rights pioneers will be honored Friday in Greensboro on the 53rd anniversary of their famous sit-in. North Carolina State University A&T Freshman Joe McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr., Franklin McCain and David Richmond sat down at an all-white Woolworth’s lunch sparking a significant movement in the Jim Crow South.
The four men asked to be served and were denied, but sat peacefully until Woolworth’s decided to close. Within a week hundreds of people were taking part in sit-ins in Greensboro. The movements spread to nearby North Carolina cities and then other states.
The three surviving members of the four will be celebrated Friday with a breakfast, ceremony and round-table discussion about civil justice. Richmond passed away in 1990. His son will stand in his place during the events.
The men have come to be known as the Greensboro four, although many old enough to remember the events refer to them as the A&T four, because at that time the campus was almost completely cutoff from the rest of the city.