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Monday, February 1, 2010

Civil Rights museum opens today

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 5:48 PM

The grand opening of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro wasn't chosen at random. Learn more about it at www.SitInMovement.org and by reading this article, "Because he sat down, everything changed," by David Perlmutt for The Charlotte Observer.

And now I preach: If you don't stand up — or in this case, sit down — for your rights, you risk losing them. So, speak up. And, for chrissake, you must revisit history. You must. Otherwise, as George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Now, read:

Fifty years later, the event that made Charlotte's Franklin McCain an historical figure continues to define his life. Nothing's compared since.

"Not even close," McCain said last week. "Not even the birth of my first son. I told him that, too."

On Feb. 1, 1960, a Monday like today, McCain and three other freshmen at N.C. A&T University in Greensboro, walked a mile from campus to the F.W. Woolworth five-and-dime on North Elm Street, to make a statement against segregation. They purchased a few items - McCain bought toothpaste and a composition book - and asked for receipts. Then they found the "whites-only" lunch counter and simply sat down.

First McCain and Joseph McNeil, then Ezell Blair Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan) and the late David Richmond.

They ordered coffee.

Today, McCain will return to that five-and-dime to take part in the opening dedication of the long-awaited International Civil Rights Center & Museum, following a weekend of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro Four's history-altering protests.

In related news: New play commemorates Orangeburg Massacre (Qcitymetro.com)

Learn more about the Orangeburg Massacre here:

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