Document 50th Anniversary of Historic Sit-ins
WASHINGTON (February 2, 2010) – Twenty Howard University
students were in Greensboro, N.C. over the weekend and Monday, Feb.
1, to document the 50th anniversary of one of the most important
efforts of the Civil Rights Movement – the sit-ins at an F.W. Woolworth’s
It was 50 years ago that four North Carolina
A&T students challenged the segregationist policies at a popular
drug store chain and across most of the South and set about a nationwide
movement that tore those and many other walls down.
Radio, Television and Film Department
and Department of Journalism students in the John H. Johnson School
of Communications covered and documented the historic activities commemorating
the 50th anniversary of the effort led by college freshmen Ezell Blair
Jr., Franklin Eugene McCain, Joseph Alfred McNeil and David Leinail
Richmond. Blair changed his name to Jibrell Kahzan
The students met and interviewed the
three surviving members of what became known as the “Greensboro Four”
and the “A&T Four,” attended and covered various ceremonies,
celebrations and the opening on Monday of the new International Civil
Rights Center & Museum in the old Woolworth’s building.
The students wrote for Howard University
radio, television, Web and print publications and shared their stories
with other news media across the nation, including the more than 200
members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. They
also posted stories and compiled video on the Internet on the Howard
University News Service site at www.howarduniversitynewsservice.com.
The trip was taped to be shown as a part
of the Time Warner Seminar Series.
Reginald Miles, assistant professor in
the Department of Radio, Television and Film and organizer of the school’s
effort, said it was important to see how students from a generation
changed the nation.
“They stood up so we could sit down,”
Miles said. “Those boys were 17 years old. They were very
young. They risked their lives and their future. That’s
something our students need to understand.”
On Feb. 1, 1960, the students ignored
the “We Serve Whites Only” sign, sat at the dining counter at the
Woolworth’s in downtown Greensboro and asked for service.
They were refused, but they stayed at
the counter until the store closed. And they kept coming back
and coming back and coming back until on July 26 of that year, the store
reversed its policy and the sit-in movement had been born.
“By participating in these activities,
they will be able to see how students their age 50 years ago changed
the course of history and helped launch the Civil Rights Movement,”