To encourage and support student events to commemorate the legacy of the “Greensboro Four,” CBFNC’s Racial Equity & Justice (REJ) ministry team offered new grants this year to partner colleges. The modest February 1 grants were provided to help partner colleges offer educational events about the four college freshmen from what is now North Carolina A&T University (Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr., later known as Jibreel Khazan, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond), who had the courage to sit down at the whites-only Greensboro Woolworth’s lunch counter on February 1, 1960 in peaceful protest of segregation laws. Their actions sparked the nation-wide sit-in movement of the Civil Rights era. The REJ team chose February 1 as the name of the grants to honor the “Greensboro Four” and the date’s significance in our state and nation.
The Mars Hill University (MHU) Center for Religious and Spiritual Life was awarded a February 1 grant for an educational luncheon for students about the “Greensboro Four” that was held on campus on February 1, 2024. Ja’hari Mitchell, a senior at MHU, provided a presentation that included a short video about the Greensboro Four. Then he spoke about their importance, how they have inspired him and how all students can learn their story and find empowerment.
“Ja’hari emphasized that college students are able to speak up and make a difference, and encouraged all those present to soak in everything college has to offer, including opportunities to learn leadership and to engage with their community,” said Stephanie McLeskey, University chaplain.
“Our goal was to have at least 20 attendees for this event, with a primary focus on students. We met and exceeded that goal, with 37 total attendees, including 33 students, two staff and two faculty,” she said. “This event was an absolute success. We look forward to exploring more ways of partnering with CBFNC and the REJ team in the future.”
During a feedback survey, one participant shared, “The event was informative and the speaker related it to himself and the lessons he has learned from others as well creating a more open environment.”