Greensboro Four

Triad Update

Jan 21, 2014
The lunch counter where Greensboro students staged a civil rights sit-in protest on display in the National Museum of American History in Washington DC.
Wikipedia author RadioFan

 Franklin McCain, civil rights activist and one of the Greensboro Four, died this month. 

Close to 1,000 people celebrated the life of Franklin Eugene McCain inside of Harrison Auditorium on the North Carolina A&T campus
Jeff Tiberii

Civil rights pioneer Franklin McCain will be laid to rest Friday, following an afternoon funeral in Charlotte. Hundreds of people turned out to North Carolina A&T State University Thursday to remember an historic figure. McCain was one the four teenagers who sat down at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro on February first, 1960.  

This is the actual Woolworth lunch counter where the protest took place. It is now housed at the Smithsonian
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Background to this first person audio story from reporter Jessica Jones:

Back in 2010, I was thrilled to cover the opening of Greensboro's International Civil Rights Center and Museum, housed in the old Woolworth's store where the famous sit-in took place that led to the end of desegregation.

It was exciting for me personally because the assignment allowed me to meet and interview three of the surviving members of the Greensboro Four, the men who as college students showed such incredible courage in integrating the lunch counter.

Jack Moebes/Corbis

A Civil Rights pioneer has died. Franklin McCain was one of four teenagers who sat down at an all-white lunch counter in Greensboro on February 1, 1960.

"I certainly wasn't afraid. And I wasn't afraid because I was too angry to be afraid. If I were lucky I would be carted off to jail for a long, long time. And if I were not so lucky, then I would be going back to my campus, in a pine box." - Franklin McCain, interview on NPR

The freshmen from North Carolina A&T ignited a sit-in movement in the Jim Crow south that led to other key chapters in the Civil Rights era.

Fifty years ago, on Feb. 1, four black college students sat down at a whites-only Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. The "Greensboro Four," along with friends and supporters, returned to the counter every day for six months until the lunch counter was desegregated.

Their determination to resist Jim Crow laws inspired thousands of peaceful sit-ins and helped to end official segregation in the South. On Monday, in the same building that once housed the Woolworth's store, the International Civil Rights Center & Museum opens.