Fifty years ago today, four college students made history.
Their names may not be as hallowed and celebrated as Rosa Parks, but, in many ways, the argument can be made that Ezell Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), David Richmond, Franklin McCain and Joseph McNeil made contributions that were at least as significant as the former seamstress did when she refused to get off a segregated Montgomery bus in December, 1955.
The four North Carolina A & T students attempted to desegregate a Woolworth’s lunch counter.
They unleashed a tidal wave.
Inspired by their actions, students across the country followed suit and eventually created the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC.
In an ironic and personally pleasing twist, I just heard last night from Clayborne Carson, my undergraduate thesis adviser and author of In Struggle, a book that many consider to be the definitive work on SNCC.
Those looking for a shorter should check out the current issue of Smithsonian Magazine
Tonight, Dunreith and friend and Facing History colleague Phredd MatthewsWall attended a screening of February 1, a documentary film that tells the story of the Greensboro Four.
The film, the article and Carson’s book are worth spending time, as, all too often, the contributions of young people are erased from the history books.
These works put the men in their proper place-as sparks to a seismic shift in American history.