Civil Rightssitin

David Richmond

David Richmond was one of the four African American college students who participated in the Greensboro sit-ins, which were pivotal moments in the Civil Rights Movement. Born in Greensboro in 1941, Richmond was the son of a minister and grew up in a community that was deeply involved in the struggle for civil rights. In February 1960, Richmond was a freshman at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, along with his fellow sit-in participants Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr. (now known as Jibreel Khazan), and Joseph McNeil. The four friends were frustrated with the persistent racial segregation in their city and wanted to take action to challenge it.

Franklin McCain, Wilmington, NC, left, and David Richmond, Greensboro, NC, are shown in April 1960. They are two of the four college students who started demonstrations against segregated lunch counters in February of 1959.

On February 1, 1960, Richmond and his friends went to the Woolworth’s department store in downtown Greensboro and sat down at the lunch counter, which was reserved for white customers only. When they were refused service, they remained seated and peacefully protested until the store closed. The sit-in was repeated the following day, and soon other students joined in the protests. The Greensboro sit-ins drew national attention and sparked a wave of similar protests across the country. Richmond and his fellow sit-in participants became known as the Greensboro Four, and their bravery and determination helped to galvanize the Civil Rights Movement.

In 2010 the Smithsonian Institution’s James Smithson Bicentennial Medal was awarded to the members of the Greensboro Four (above McNeil, McCain, Khazan, and David Richmond, Jr, the son of David Richmond, who died in 1990).

After the sit-ins, Richmond continued to be involved in civil rights activism. He was one of the organizers of a campaign to desegregate movie theaters in Greensboro, and he participated in voter registration drives and other protests. Richmond graduated from North Carolina A&T State University in 1964 and went on to work as a counselor and advocate for people with disabilities. He died in 1990 at the age of 49.

The Greensboro Four – L to R: Ezell Blair Jr. (Jibreel Khazan), Joe McNeil, David Richmond, and Franklin McCain

Today, the Greensboro sit-ins are remembered as a turning point in the struggle for civil rights, and David Richmond and his fellow sit-in participants are celebrated as heroes and pioneers in the fight for racial equality.

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