“Unlike a lot of other people who have lost parents, I can now go on the internet, at any time, pull up a video and I can hear my father.”
Franklin McCain Jr. is the son of Franklin McCain, one of the members of the Greensboro Four — four students who staged a sit-in at Greensboro’s Woolworth's lunch counter on Feb. 1, 1960. He spoke at the Freedom Forum Conference Center in Carroll Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 17, for Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Day of Action."
The sit-in movement spread to 55 cities in 13 states, and Woolworth began serving Black people later in July of that year.
McCain Jr.’s speech Tuesday night followed a student-led walk-out and sit-in held that afternoon, during which journalism and media students reflected on their shared experiences along with MLK Jr.'s legacy.
The four N.C. A&T students who were members of the Greensboro Four were Franklin McCain Sr., David Richmond, Jibreel Khazan (who changed his name from Ezell Blair Jr.) and Joe McNeil.
“They said, look, we've got to do something, but they wanted to do it in a peaceful way. My father called this civil disobedience, and they wanted to be intentional,” McCain Jr. said. “They wanted to be deliberate and they wanted to be organized.”
McCain Jr. is the vice president of institutional investment at Bennett College, a private Greensboro HBCU for women. He looked back on his childhood experiences as the son of a civil rights hero.
“I remember Barbara Walters was one of my daddy's favorite news people. And all of a sudden I'm out in my yard one day riding my bike, and this car pulls up, and out walks this lady who I've been seeing on television,” he said.
Carl Kenney, an adjunct instructor at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, moderated the lecture. He also works as a spiritual leader for the Liberation Station, a bookstore and think tank in Durham, and is the managing editor for Rev-elution, a newspaper that mainly focuses on local economics and development affecting Black people.