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Franklin McCain, member of 'Greensboro Four,' dies

Posted January 10, 2014

Franklin McCain

— Franklin McCain, a renowned civil rights leader and member of the Greensboro Four, the group of North Carolina A&T State University freshmen who started the sit-in movement by refusing to get up from a whites-only counter at a Greensboro Woolworth's in 1960, died Thursday. 

According to his family, McCain died late Thursday after a brief illness. 

Born in Union County in 1942, McCain grew up in Washington, D.C., before returning to the state to attend N.C. A&T. 

On Feb. 1, 1960, McCain, Ezell Blair Jr., Joseph McNeil and David Richmond entered the Woolworth's on Elm Street. The following day, 25 other college students joined them at the counter, according to N.C. A&T. 

By the end of the month, similar demonstrations had taken place in at least 250 cities across the country. 

McCain graduated from A&T in 1964. He worked for Celanese Corp. in Charlotte for almost 35 years. In 1994, McCain received an honorary doctorate from N.C. A&T for his contributions in the civil rights movement.

The McCain family released the following statement:

"Late yesterday our father, Franklin E. McCain Sr., passed away in Greensboro after a brief illness. To the world, he was a civil rights pioneer who, along with his three classmates, dared to make a difference by starting the sit-in movement at the F.W. Woolworth Store here in Greensboro.

To us, he was "Daddy" - a man who deeply loved his family and cherished his friends. We will forever treasure the wonderful memories that we have and be thankful for all that he did for us and for his fellow man. We ask for your understanding as we request privacy during this difficult time as we plan his services. As soon as arrangements have been made we will let you know.
Thank you again for your understanding."

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  • kateyezkateyez Jan 10, 2014

    That was a lovely statement. To us, he was "Daddy". That's the way his family saw him as their hero. Beautiful.

  • newssaavy72 Jan 10, 2014

    Prayers to the family doing this difficult time. Great history and legacy that he leaves behind as I teach my children about their heritage!

  • weneed2pray Jan 10, 2014

    R.I.P. fellow Aggie!!!

  • Mr. Hans Jan 10, 2014

    A brave and courageous man.

  • Bill of Rights Jan 10, 2014

    Rest in peace, sir.

  • hollylama Jan 10, 2014

    May he rest in peace.