The 64th Sit-In Anniversary Breakfast and Wreath Laying is set for Feb. 1.
The North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University community will gather at the North Carolina A&T Alumni-Foundation Event Center to celebrate the legacy of four A&T freshmen who were keystones in the civil rights movement in 1960 during their sit-in at the downtown Greensboro Woolworth’s lunch counter. Their actions served as a catalyst to change public accommodations laws across the nation.
The A&T Four include Jibreel Khazan (formerly Ezell Blair Jr.) and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil, who are not expected to attend this year’s gathering as well as the late Franklin McCain Sr. and the late David Richmond Jr.
The event’s theme is “The Gathering: Strength in Our Unity.” It begins with breakfast at 7 a.m. and a program at 8 a.m. The program will honor critically acclaimed sculptor Dr. James Barnhill who created the iconic February One monument at A&T. The statue depicting the A&T Four walking purposefully alongside each other is the most photographed element of the university’s 132-year-old campus. Barnhill installed the sculpture in 2002 in front of Dudley Memorial Building. The monument and Dudley are part of a National Historic District comprising the western side of A&T’s 200-acre campus.
The program will feature song selections by the N.C. A&T Fellowship Gospel Choir and a presentation of the Human Rights Medal, the university’s highest honor for contributions to civil rights, civil liberties and/or human rights, to an honoree whose name will be revealed at the event. Past honorees include the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls and the Rev. William J. Barber II.
“The Gathering Conversation” is a panel discussion that will feature Dr. Jelani Favors, Henry E. Frye Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science and director of the A&T Center of Excellence in Social Justice; Kennedy Lighty, an A&T senior majoring in political science; Tiffany Seawright, director of Leadership and Engagement at A&T; and Dr. Oliver M. Thomas, director of External Affairs at A&T.
Participants will walk to the February One monument and lay a wreath in honor of McCain and Richmond following the breakfast and program. Students are invited to attend a social justice discussion after the wreath ceremony from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. in Harrison Auditorium.