They Sat Down to Take a Stand, Starting a Movement

On a Monday afternoon, on February 1, 1960, four young black men entered an F. W. Woolworth store in Greensboro, North Carolina. Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, David Richmond and Jibreel Khazan, A&T college students, walked into the store in their coats and ties. As they were accustomed to doing, the four students browsed the store’s items and stepped up to the counter to buy the kind of everyday things they typically bought: toothpaste, notebooks, a hairbrush, etc.


The Greensboro Four, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Billy Smith, and Clarence Henderson waiting for service on their second day of the sit-in at the Woolworth counter on February 2nd, 1960. Photo by Granger / Shutterstock

Woolworth’s was the spot where everyone bought just about everything. And this visit to the shop started out no different than previous times. They stuffed their receipts into their pockets, and with their hearts racing, they turned to their mission. They knew what to expect, but the staff at Woolworth’s wasn’t in on their plan.

This is the story of a group of four brave men who essentially led a new and important civil rights movement.

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