50 years later, Greensboro Four get Smithsonian award for civil rights actions





For 50 years now, the faces of the students have been etched in our memories, four young men at a lunch counter, nattily dressed, clean-shaven, looking over their shoulders, serious about their actions, perhaps a little uncertain about its results....

On Wednesday night on a plain stage at the National Museum of American History, a floor below where an eight-foot-long portion of that same lunch counter is on exhibit, stood living history. Now only three remain, Jibreel Khazan (formerly Ezell Blair Jr.), Franklin E. McCain and Joseph A. McNeil; together they heard, over and over again, but respectfully, how they had sat down so others could stand up....

After the ceremony, McCain, whose home is in Charlotte, sat by the old counter, posing for pictures and signing slips of paper. "The whole concept of honoring the 50th anniversary is humbling. It causes some introspection. People have made some conclusions, and I have to ask, 'Did I measure up?' " said McCain, a chemist who is now chairman of the North Carolina A&T State University board of trustees....


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