North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will sponsor its annual celebration to pay tribute to the four A&T freshmen (A&T Four), Ezell Blair (Jibreel Khazan), Franklin McCain, Joseph NcNeil and David Richmond, who on Feb. 1, 1960 courageously sat down at the segregated lunch counter of F.W. Woolworth store in downtown Greensboro. This event would spark similar sit-ins throughout the south and later change the face of America.  

The 52nd Sit-In Anniversary Celebration will kick off with a breakfast, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 6 a.m. in Alumni-Foundation Event Center. Its theme is "Legacy to Legacy: Shared Leadership.”  The keynote speaker for the event will be Darryl C. Towns, commissioner and chief executive officer of New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

For 18 years prior to his current appointment, Towns served in the New York State (NYS) Assembly  where he chaired the banking committee and served on Education, Health, Rules and Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry committees.  He also served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Mass Transit and in 2007 was elected chair of the State Legislature’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. In the NYS Assembly, he worked closely with not-for-profit housing agencies and community development corporations to revitalize neighborhoods and build and preserve affordable housing for his constituents.  In addition, he sponsored legislation to improve access to affordable housing for disabled veterans and to battle predatory lending, subprime lending and the myriad of mortgage and refinancing scams that plagued communities across New York State.

Towns attended City University of New York’s Medgar Evers College and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from N.C. A&T in 1990.  While attending A&T, he served as attorney general and vice president of external affairs for the Student Government Association, was a residence assistant, and was president of Eta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity .  He also served in the U.S. Air Force for five years.

Towns is the son of A&T alumnus and veteran U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.). He resides in Brooklyn with his wife Karen Boykin-Towns and daughters, Jasmine and Trinity.

At the breakfast, A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. will present the university’s Human Rights Medal to this year’s winner(s). The award recognizes individuals who have endeavored to correct social injustice and have significantly contributed to the betterment of the world.

After the breakfast there will be the laying of the memorial wreath at the February One Monument.  At 9:30 a.m. there will be a round-table discussion with the A&T Four in Harrison Auditorium.

The events for the celebration are free and open to the public. For more information call 336.334.7791