Franklin McCain of Woolworth Lunch Counter Sit-in Dies at 73

Franklin McCain, who in 1960, along with three college friends, sat at the whites-only lunch counter at a Woolworth store in Greensboro, N.C and helped fuel the civil rights movement, died on January 9 at 73. We honor his bravery and sacrifice.

Franklin McCain, second from left, at a sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., in 1960.
McMahan Archive


Franklin McCain was one of the Greensboro Four who sat at lunch counter stools at a Greensboro, N.C. Woolworth store, not expecting to be served since it was a white-only counter. They were not served, but insistently came back each day for the next four days and sat and ordered.

As word of the protest spread, they were joined by a growing crowd. By the end of the fifth day, more than a thousand people had joined them. On July 25, the store relented and made the lunch counter available to all.

The impact of the Greensboro sit-in rippled and spread to more than 55 cities in 13 states and contributed to the momentum of the civil rights movement which culminated in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The other three students were Ezell Blair Jr., who later changed his name to Jibreel Khazan, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond who died in 1990.



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