The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

N.C. A&T celebrates the 62nd sit-in anniversary in-person after a one-year hiatus


Two years ago, the sit-in anniversary was celebrated in the Alumni-Foundation Event Center, however, this year’s event had breakfast in the Deese Ballroom, a wreath ceremony, and recorded live on N.C. A&T’s Facebook page in honor of The A&T Four.

The Human Rights Medal was not awarded this year because the committee is using this year to revamp the criteria and nomination process.

Penny Smith, a current staff senate chair at N.C. A&T helped ensure people were guided to their seats at the breakfast for the 62nd sit-in anniversary. She expressed her enjoyment of the celebration being in-person.

“It feels awesome [to be in person]. Already it is an electric event, but just to have people in person is already more electric and just knowing we have some legends in the room is amazing. It is a great event,” Smith said. 

The celebration commenced with the annual breakfast, and a video of various media clips of the A&T Four; Jibreel Khazan (formerly Ezell Blair Jr.), Gen. Joseph McNeil, the late Franklin McCain, and the late David Richmond. 

Following a CBS video presentation honoring The A&T Four, Brandon Richardson, a soloist from N.C. A&T Fellowship Gospel Choir sang the Black National Anthem. The keynote speaker this year is last year’s recipient of the Human Rights Medal, North Carolina’s Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls. 

Earls speech touched on the event’s name of “62 Years in the Making: Increasing Our Stride.”  She talked about her work and how her drive to continue protecting civil rights stems from colleagues and the legacy that took place 62 years ago, the Greensboro Sit-in. 

“The sit-in movement that started 62 years ago on Feb. 1 is certainly something that impacted me personally…So much of our commitment to democracy is recognizing everyone’s humanity,” said Earls. “When we have systems and policies and practices and laws at institutions and individual interactions that diminish [human rights] then we are not going in the right direction.”

The program concluded at the A&T Four Statue with a few songs by N.C.A&T Fellowship Gospel Choir, and a few words on what these four men have done. These four men marked a pivotal time in the Civil Rights Movement and the history of N.C. A&T while impacting the lives of black girls and boys.

“I was a young boy growing up in Winston Salem. I have experienced shopping with my mother downtown at stores like Woolworths, where we could not eat at. I saw color-only water fountains and bathrooms.” Chancellor Harold L. Martin said. “So for me to have witnessed the courage of these four men at an institution that was prominent in our community, state, and the nation as a whole it inspired me to continue to do my best work and I am overwhelmed with the opportunity to lead this university today.”

Daina M. Wilson, a sophomore elections committee chair, atmospheric science and meteorology student with a minor in journalism and mass communication, and applied mathematics is grateful for the opportunity to be at this event and to be filled with this history as an Aggie. 

“Honestly, every time I bring someone to campus I always take them to the A&T four statue because that tells a lot of significance of North Carolina A&T State University and the name that we have and the different historical facts that we have here,” Wilson said.

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