N.C. A&T to Hold 55th Sit-In Anniversary Celebration

Edolphus Towns, a retired 30-year member of Congress, will be the guest speaker Friday for the celebration of the 55th anniversary of the first Greensboro sit-in.

Towns will speak at the annual breakfast at North Carolina A&T State University. It will be held at the Alumni-Foundation Event Center beginning at 6:30 a.m. The breakfast is free and open to the public.

The two surviving members of the A&T Four, Jibreel Khazan and Joseph McNeil, also will speak.

Following the breakfast, at 9 a.m., a memorial wreath will be laid at the February One monument in front of the Dudley Memorial Building on Dudley Street at University Circle. At 9:30, the university will hold “A Conversation with the A&T Four” in the Academic Classroom Building auditorium.

Towns was elected 15 times to represent a Brooklyn district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served from 1983 to 2013, when he retired. He is a social worker, ordained minister and founder of the Congressional Social Work Caucus. He received his bachelor’s degree in social work from N.C. A&T and a master’s degree in social work from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY.

The annual event celebrates four N.C. A&T freshmen – Ezell Blair, Jr. (now known as Jibreel Khazan), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond – and their peaceful sit-in at the Woolworth’s store in downtown Greensboro on Feb. 1, 1960. After being refused service at the lunch counter, they returned the next day and kept returning, triggering a wave of similar nonviolent protests across the state and nation.

Their continuing efforts through the spring and into the summer of 1960 resulted in increasing numbers of peaceful protesters at the store, a widespread boycott of other segregated businesses in Greensboro and, in July, a decision by Woolworth’s to desegregate the entire chain.