Posted on 02/18/2012

Photo taken on February  1, 1960

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History in Photos History in Photos


Civil Rights Activists
NC A&T State University
Taking a stand
Joseph McNeil
Ezell Blair
Franklin McCain
David Richmond

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The Greensboro 4

The Greensboro 4
Left to right: David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr., and Joseph McNeil

On Feb. 1, 1960 four Black freshmen at North Carolina A&T State University, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair, Jr., and David Richmond, took seats at the segregated lunch counter of F. W. Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C. They were refused service and sat peacefully until the store closed. They returned the next day, along with about 25 other students, and their requests were again denied. The Greensboro Four inspired similar sit-ins across the state and by the end of February, such protests were taking place across the South. Finally in July, Woolworth's integrated all of its stores. The four have become icons of the civil rights movement.

Five and a half months after the sit-in began local businesses agreed to serve African Americans alongside their white patrons. The Greensboro Four lead the way for desegregation in North Carolina.

As a tribute, a monument of the Greenboro Four has been erected at North Carolina A&T State University. The statue (James Barnhill, sculptor) was unveiled on the 42nd anniversary, February 1, 2001.

The Woolworth store closed in 1993 and is now home to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. A section of the Woolworth's lunch counter with four stools is on view in Washington, D.C. at the National Museum of American History.

Photographer: Jack Moebes