The signs read: "White Passengers Seat from Front. Colored Passengers Seat from Rear," "Waiting Room for Colored Only By Order of Police Dept.," "No Negro Allowed Inside Building," "We Wash Clothes for White People Only," "Public Swimming Pool Only for Whites."

As we celebrate Black History Month, I marvel at how four college students launched the Civil Rights Movement across the South on February 1, 1960, in Greensboro, North Carolina, in a moment that changed history.

Energized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s pursuit of nonviolent, peaceful protest, Ezell Blair, Jr., who changed his name to Jibreel Khazan – a SouthCoast resident and loving friend – along with Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, and David Richmond would be inscribed in antiquity on this day for having the courage to take action breaking of the chains of "whites only" being served at Woolworth's lunch counters. How do you think those sickening notices came down in the struggle for change? It wasn't because of inaction.

Let's say you're supposed to do something, but you procrastinate. We've all experienced it, but inaction, more than anything, is the cause of more let-downs and losses. If only, like the Greensboro Four, we could consistently do the things we know we ought to do, life would be more yielding.

Easier said than done? We all know that action is hard, but it's so much easier if we just drop the inner struggle against it that prevents us from embracing what's good and rightful. There's a high correlation between the ability to take action and eventual success, as confirmed by the heroic Greensboro Four.

Once you've taken action, you need to keep heading in that direction. It's the only way we can permanently destroy those signs of hatred and make a better world for generations to come.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

LOOK: 28 Modern Black History Makers & Moments

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Enter your number to get our free mobile app

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420