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Feb.1 brings march and time capsule burial

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February 1, 2010, marked the 50th anniversary of the A&T Four’s sit-in. The day was full of commemorative events including a time capsule burial and march.

The time capsule burial took place in front of the A&T Four statue. The three surviving members of the A&T Four read letters that they wrote that would be placed into the capsule. The son of the late David Richmond wrote a letter to his father that would also be placed in the capsule.

Other items placed in the capsule included The Feb. 1 News & Record’s 50th Anniversary tab, The Feb. 1 A&T Register’s 50th Anniversary tab, and a poster commemorating the 50th anniversary of the sit-in to name a few.

The march began right after the time capsule burial. A&T leaders led the long line of at least 1,500 A&T students, alumni, Bennett College students, UNCG students, Greensboro College students, GTTC students, local Greensboro residents and more, as they walked in silence from the A&T Four statue to the new civil rights museum downtown.

Some A&T students took the time to share what made them come out and take part in the historic march.

Senior JOMC major Rob Hill said, “I’m participating in this march because it’s a very significant event. They created a big movement that helped better my life today, so I’m here to pay my respects.”

Junior print journalism major Gian Spells agreed with Hill. “I’m out here today to march in honor of the A&T Four. Not only them but in honor of what they were a part of, the whole Civil Rights movement, the struggle, everything we fought for, everything we accomplished as a group, as a race, and as a culture. This march encompasses all of that, so that’s why I’m here,” said Spells.

To sophomore public relations and media management major Lauren Towns, it’s about respect.

“I came out here today to pay my respect to A&T’s history and also to the whole civil rights movement,” said Towns.

To others it was about making history. Blair Penn, sophomore elementary education major, said, “Now we have a chance to be a part of history, make a difference and contribute as our fellow Aggies did.”

Junior music education Arturo Cummings wanted to make history. “I want to be a part of this because it’s something that will go down in history and I am actually able to be a part of, as if I was there 50 years ago,” said Cummings.

For some it was the first time participating in any Feb. 1 events. Brittney Jones, a sophomore secondary education major, said, “This is my first march. I came out because it’s the 50th anniversary so I figured why not support Aggies who made history.”

Others charged A&T students to carry on the legacy.

“I thought this was a very important event to come and also make a stand because that’s what they did. It started with four and now as college students we can take on that responsibility and continue their legacy,” said Bethany Penn, a sophomore elementary education major.

Senior accounting major Janelle Young agreed. “I feel it is very important for us to be out with the A&T four on the 50th anniversary. It’s a very symbolic movement,” Young said.

“Students need to understand how we came to be what we are today at North Carolina A&T State University and I really think it’s important for more students to come out every year, even beyond the 50th year, to celebrate this movement,” said Young.

The reasons varied but the purpose was universal. A crowd of cheering spectators greeted the marchers at their destination. The support and love was obvious with the march bringing tears to the eyes of many.

The march concluded with a brief program at the Government Plaza. A student representative from each college gave remarks and a litany prayer was said followed by a spoken word performance from members of Couture Word.

The program closed with final words from Chancellor Martin.

  • Sylvia Obell
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Feb.1 brings march and time capsule burial