GREENSBORO CHRONOLOGY: THE PEOPLE
The Greensboro Four
- Franklin McCain
McCain was born in Union County, N.C., and grew up in Washington, D.C., where he graduated from Eastern High School. He received a B.S. degree in chemistry and biology from North Carolina A&T State University in 1964. While an A&T student, he roomed with David Richmond -- another of the original sit-in participants -- and around the corner from Ezell Blair Jr. and Joseph McNeil on the second floor of Scott Hall. He joined the Celanese Corporation in Charlotte in 1965 as a chemist and later headed the company's office in Shelby, N.C. He is married to the former Bettye Davis and they have three sons.
- Joseph McNeil
A Wilmington, N.C., native, Joseph McNeil graduated from Williston Senior High School. He earned a degree in engineering physics from North Carolina A & T State University in 1963 and his roommate in Scott Hall was another sit-in participant, Ezell Blair, Jr.
McNeil spent six years as a U.S. Air Force Officer and attained the rank of captain. He is now a major general in the Air Force Reserves. Following retirement from the armed services he worked in computer sales for IBM, as a commercial banker for Bankers Trust in New York City, and as a stockbroker for E.F. Hutton in Fayetteville, N.C. He now resides in Hempstead, N.Y. He is married to the former Ina Brown, and they have five children.
- Ezell Blair, Jr. (Jibreel Khazan)
A Greensboro native, Ezell Blair graduated from Dudley High School and received a B.S. in sociology from North Carolina A&T State University in 1963. While a student at A&T, Blair was president of the junior class, the student government association, the campus NAACP and the Greensboro Congress for Racial Equality. He attended law school at Howard University and then became a member of the New England Islamic Center. He now goes by the name of Jibreel Khazan.
Khazan currently works with developmentally disabled people in New Bedford, Mass. He has also worked with the AFL-CIO Trade Council in Boston, the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), as well as the Rodman Job Corps Center. He is married to the former Lorraine France George of New Bedford. They have three children, one of whom graduated from A&T.
- David Richmond
Richmond was born in Greensboro, N.C., and graduated from Dudley High School. Richmond pursued majors in both business administration and accounting at N.C. A&T University. After leaving A&T, he became a counselor-coordinator for the Comprehensive Employment Training Act program in Greensboro.
Richmond later lived in the mountain community of Franklin, N.C., for nine years then returned to Greensboro to take care of his aging parents and work as a porter for Greensboro Health Care Center. In 1980, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Levi Coffin Award for "leadership in human rights, human relations, and human resources development in Greensboro." He was married and divorced twice and has two children with Yvonne Bryson. His son, Chip Richmond, was a starter on the football team at Wake Forest University. Richmond died of lung cancer on Dec. 7, 1990. He was awarded a posthumous honorary doctorate degree from N.C. A&T University.
F.W. Woolworth Store Manager
- C. L. Harris
C.L. Harris was one retailer who wanted no part of publicity. As manager of the F.W. Woolworth retail store in Greensboro, N.C., his response to the initial arrival of the Greensboro Four on Feb. 1, 1960 was to just let the four young men sit at the "whites only" lunch counter. Given the growing racial tensions throughout the South, Harris had suspected something like this might happen and had consulted the F.W. Woolworth regional office in Atlanta regarding an official company policy. The stated position of the company was to allow local law and practice to apply. Harris had informed his superiors that he proposed to take no action, assuming the demonstrators would become bored and leave. The company agreed, in part, because they did not want the negative publicity that had accompanied police involvement in other protests.
- Ralph Johns
Ralph Johns, a downtown Greensboro merchant in 1960, was popular with the black community -- particularly the students at A&T and Bennett colleges to whom he gave support, advice and occasional loans. Jones was one of the few white members of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and as early as 1949 had tried to entice one of the students to challenge segregation.
Johns was born of Syrian immigrant parents in New Castle, Pa. In 1944 after discharge from the Army Air Force, Johns and his wife settled in the Gate City and opened a clothing store on East Market Street.
In the late 1960s, he became an organizer for the Guilford County Office of Economic Opportunity, but was fired after accusing the agency of not doing enough for the poor.
- Jack Moebes
Following a call from The Greensboro Record Staff Reporter Jo Spivey, Jack Moebes arrived at the F.W. Woolworth retail store just as its doors were being closed. A small crowd had gathered, but store manager C.L. Harris would not permit any pictures to be taken inside the store. When the Greensboro Four left by a side entrance, Moebes was able to take their photograph, the only image captured on the eventful day.
Moebes worked for the Greensboro Daily News and The Greensboro Record for 30 years starting in late 1946. He had attended Loyola University on a football scholarship and later earned a law degree from Cumberland University. A shortage of opportunities in the legal profession during the Great Depression prompted Moebes to pursue a career as a photographer. He served in the Air Force during World War II and won awards from the North Carolina Press Association for both news and feature photography. A series of pictures he shot in 1957, when five black students enrolled in previously all-white Gillespie Park School in Greensboro, appeared in Life Magazine. Moebes died in Greensboro in August 2002.
- Jo Spivey
Spivey was a staff writer for The Greensboro Record in 1960. On the afternoon of Feb. 1, 1960, Spivey received an anonymous phone call at her home alerting her to the sit-ins. Spivey recognized the voice of the caller as Ralph Johns. However, rather than make the short trek to F.W. Woolworth store, Spivey dispatched staff photographer Jack Moebes. Moebes was able to capture the only photograph of the historic moment as the freshmen quartet made their departure from Woolworth's out of a side door.
Although she did not file a story on the first day of the sit-ins, Spivey did provide much of the coverage on the events thereafter.