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Why The Greensboro Four Sit-In Almost Didn't Happen

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Why The Greensboro Four Sit-In Almost Didn't Happen

Short | 02:16

When four college freshmen began to talk about affecting change within their community, only three were up for the challenge.

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In February of 1960, a simple coffee order at America's favorite five-and-dime store sparked a series of events that would help put an end to segregation in the United States. Join us as we detail the extraordinary story of otherwise ordinary young men, four African-American college students whose nonviolent sit-in at a Woolworth's lunch counter started a revolution.

Bios

  • Apostle Doctor Jibreel Khazan, PhD
  • Joseph McNeil
  • David Richmond
  • NARRATOR - Anna Deavere Smith
  • Franklin McCain
  • Apostle Doctor Jibreel Khazan, PhD

    Apostle Doctor Jibreel Khazan, PhD

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    Given the outspoken personality of Jibreel Khazan, you wouldn't recognize at first the mild-mannered values his parents sought to instill. Born Ezell Blair, Jr., in Greensboro, NC, he was taught to mind his elders and to avoid stirring up trouble among the white community. The 1955 death of Emmett Till, who was slain for allegedly whistling at a white woman, impacted Khazan deeply. Racially motivated crimes frightened him and instilled a deep desire to bring about change within society. Inspired by a speech from Martin Luther King, Jr., and by the peaceful resistance tactics of Ghandi, Blair knew he had to act on the evils of segregation in Greensboro. But he wasn't initially enamored with the idea of the Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in. His friends persuaded him to join in an act of defiance that would land him a spot in civil rights history. Blair graduated from North Carolina A&T College (now A&T State University), where among other organizations, he was president of the student government association and the campus NAACP chapter. Shortly after college, he moved to New Bedford, Mass. In 1968, Khazan joined the New England Islamic Center and assumed his current name. He now serves developmentally disabled people in New Bedford.

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