Franklin McCain, Civil Rights Sit-In Icon, Dies

Franklin McCain

Franklin McCain, one of the "Greensboro Four" who sat down at a whites-only lunch counter in North Carolina, sparking the sit-in movement in the 1960s, has died, NPR reports.

McCain reportedly died Thursday at the Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro after a brief illness. There are conflicting news reports about his actual age, but he was in his early 70s.


While still only a freshman at North Carolina A&T, McCain, along with Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr. and David Richmond, sat down at a Woolworth’s whites-only lunch counter on Feb. 1, 1960, to protest the "chain’s policy of refusing to serve food to blacks," NPR notes.

It was a move that sparked the national sit-in movement, led by young people, to challenge the inequality they faced, especially in the South.

"I certainly wasn't afraid. And I wasn't afraid because I was too angry to be afraid. If I were lucky I would be carted off to jail for a long, long time. And if I were not so lucky, then I would be going back to my campus in a pine box," McCain once told NPR.

Read more at NPR.

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