A&T CELEBRATES SIT-IN ANNIVERSARY
To mark the anniversary of the F.W. Woolworth sit-ins, North Carolina A&T State University honored the surviving members of the A&T Four with tributes from tomorrow’s leaders. This year’s program was themed, “Legacy to Legacy: Shared Leadership.”
The 53rd Sit-In Anniversary Breakfast Celebration showcased the talents and abilities of N.C. A&T and Guilford County Schools students and that is how the honorees wanted it.
“You are primarily the reason I am here today,” Dr. Franklin McCain said.
McCain along with Dr. Jibreel Khazan (Ezell A. Blair Jr.), Dr. Joseph McNeil and the late Dr. David Richmond were A&T freshmen when they stood against social injustice by sitting down at a lunch counter.
All three surviving members of the A&T Four as well as David Richmond Jr. were present to offer their remarks in honor of the anniversary. A&T student leaders played a significant role in the planning and execution of the event from being speakers to Student Government Association President Allahquan L. Tate presiding over the program.
Members of the A&T Four and faculty and staff shared their pride for the students, not just for the actual program but for their efforts to keep this history alive.
“You carry forward a legacy of protest and what it means to give of oneself – thank you for indulging us,” McNeil said.
The Sit-In Breakfast is an annual event and while some things may remain the same, it serves a greater purpose.
“It’s like going to church – the premise is the same but every time you go there is a renewal. I get new inspiration every time I come,” junior Jasmine Brodie said.
This is the second Sit-In celebration for the junior agricultural education major and second generation Aggie. She was familiar with the A&T Four before she came to A&T but because of the Feb. 1 events, she feels more connected.
“You actually get to meet a piece of history. You can read and hear about them but to engage with them and see that they are these humble people and know that they are real is a wonderful experience,” Brodie said.
Junior biomedical engineering major Jazmine Brown agrees.
“It is very inspiring. I get to see where the sense of Aggie Pride my dad has comes from. They are what Aggie Pride is all about,” she said.
During the breakfast program, Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) was awarded the 2013 N.C. A&T State University Human Rights Medal. The award is given to an individual who has worked to correct social injustices and who has contributed to the betterment of the world.
“I stand here in awe of the Greensboro Four. It is their legacy we celebrate today and it is their willingness to take that step,” Watt said.
“I will cherish my friendships with them along with their commitment to this city, this state and this country.”
The A&T Four also participated in a laying of the memorial wreath at the February One Monument on campus and a round table discussion with A&T students to round out the celebration.