Honest-to-Goodness Freedom Fighters [PHIL-OSOPHY]
I grew up at a time when racial segregation was practiced by others in the Arkansas county I lived in. Fact is, on February 1, 1960, when four African American college students sat down at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, racial segregation was still legal in the United States. Respectfully, the students asked for service at this "whites only" counter; their request was scorned and rejected.
They were told to leave, but courteously and civilly, they quietly remained in their seats. This pivotal and life-changing sit-in helped kindle a national movement to stand up to inequality throughout the South.
The four freedom champions were to enter history known as the Greensboro Four. They were Ezell A. Blair, Jr., now Jibreel Khazan of New Bedford; Franklin E. McCain; Joseph A. McNeil; and David L. Richmond.
On Wednesday, February 5 at 9:30 a.m. at the Alfred J. Gomes Elementary School, a special ceremony will recognize the 60th anniversary of the Greensboro Four, titled "Empower Like Jibreel - A Proclamation by the Gomes School Youth Ambassadors." The public is cordially invited to join the students, staff and families, along with Mayor Jon Mitchell, the New Bedford City Council and other dignitaries.
I'd like to embrace Jibreel in my love and eternal gratitude for helping change the world through his example and agape.
The Greensboro Four's commitment ultimately led to the desegregation of the F.W. Woolworth lunch counter on July 25, 1960. A small section of the lunch counter was donated to the Smithsonian, where it continues to inspire 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.