Watch “February One: The Story Of The Greensboro Four,” In Honor Of Four Very Brave Men


February 1, 2016 — The first day of February has a special place in the history of the American Civil Rights movement.

On February 1, 1960, four young African-American men, all of whom were students at North Carolina A&T Universitybegan a sit-in at a whites-only Woolworth luncheon counter in the small city of Greensboro, North Carolina. It was an act of civil disobedience that is regarded as one of the bravest and most inspiring of the early Civil Rights Movement. Ezell Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), David Richmond, Franklin McCain and Joseph McNeil, all 17 and 18 years old, were good friends who convinced one another that this act would make a difference.

And it did.

The four well-dressed young men were refused service and were told to leave. When they refused, the manager of the store closed down the lunch counter. But they remained where they were. Soon other students joined them. once that happened, news coverage began to follow the event, and sit-ins started taking place around the country. Despite pressure, the president of North Carolina A&T University refused to order the young men to stop their protest.

Within days the protest had grown to include hundreds of students, both black and white. Nearby businesses were virtually paralyzed and started to close early. The Woolworth store would be subjected to protests and pickets for months. In the end, they were forced to integrate the lunch counter, but they only did so in the summer when the students were gone.

The incident issued in the age of the non-violent Civil Rights protest, and would eventually result in the creation of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), one of the most important organizations in the movement.

The four young men would inspire others to institute protests and sit-ins throughout the segregated south.

February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four tells the story of these four courageous and determined young men. The three surviving men (David Richmond died in 1990) remain friends to this day, and get together at Richmond’s home on February 1st each year. They teach younger generations about the sit-in, and the early civil rights movement.

In 2002, North Carolina A&T University erected a statue honoring the four in addition to naming four residence halls after each of them.
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