Celebrating over 41 years of courage and honor

Over 40 years ago, four Aggie freshmen took a stand on the injustice being shown to blacks all over the nation. Tired of harassment and the unfair treatment, they acted, and their action changed a nation that was engulfed in segregation. Feb.1 will mark the 41st anniversary of the sit-in movement — a movement that was sparked by the courage of four young men who sat at a Woolworth’s lunch counter, refusing to leave until they were served. The theme for this year’s celebration is, “Understanding Our Responsibilities and Utilizing Our Power.” A 7:30 a.m. breakfast in Williams Cafeteria Annex will open three days of activities honoring the Greensboro Four. During the breakfast, Chancellor James C. Renick will present the university’s first human rights medal, an international award that will be given annually to honor individuals who have endeavored to correct social injustice. “The N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University Medal for Human Rights will be presented to an individual whose courageous actions are a reflection of the extraordinary action against social injustice that was demonstrated by Dr. Jibreel Khazan, Dr. Franklin Eugene McCain, Dr. Joseph Alfred McNeil, and the late David L. Richmond,” said Renick. The medal design competition was won by Charles Edward Watkins, a senior visual arts major at A&T. “The impact that the Greensboro Four had on the civil rights movement was a social indictment against the reality of a segregated society,” Watkins said. “The designing of this medal is a constant reminder of that same indictment; that no matter the evil on this earth, men and women of goodwill with God’s help shall prevail.” A native of Dixons Mills, Ala., Watkins serves as the university’s photographer and his artwork has been featured in numerous publications and around the campus. He received a plaque with a replica of the winning medal and $250. The runner-up was Daryl Speaks, a senior at A&T. Following the breakfast, a roundtable discussion on the “Sit-in Movement and Civil Rights” will be held at 2 p.m. in room 123, Gibbs Hall. Dr. Claude Barnes, interim chair of the Political Science Department and the Political Science Society, is the coordinator for the discussion. At 6 p.m in Coltrane Hall, the recipient of the international award will give a lecture. The celebration will conclude with a Student Leadership Conference Feb. 2-3. Topics will include, “Elections 2000 and Voting Rights,” Utilizing Leadership Skills in Corporate America,” “Balancing of Self and Organization Demands,” “The Power of Breakfast and Fast Breaks,” “Let’s Get Physical…Exercising Responsibilities” and “Mirrors vs. Windows.” Activities for the 41st observance of the sit-in movement are free and open to the public.