Civil Rights Activist Recalls 1960 Greensboro Sit-in | NECN

Civil Rights Activist Recalls 1960 Greensboro Sit-in

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Monday, Feb. 6, 2017)

    Over the years, Jabreel Khazan has embraced many cultures. But what he is widely known for is starting the civil rights movement in North Carolina by taking a seat in a segregated diner.

    "Monday, Feb. 1, 1960, 95 years to the day after the 13th Amendment and Abraham Lincoln's proclamation, we sat in," Khazan said.

    It was a bold move at a time where segregation was at its height. Khazan, a resident of Greensboro, North Carolina, joined three others and sat down at a lunch counter at the local F. W. Woolworth diner -- seats where blacks were not allowed to sit.

    "It was a white waitress, she said no," Khazan said.

    The diner closed early that night, but the next day, 25 black students from North Carolina A&T showed up to sit in. At the end of 1960, more than 400 sit-in demonstrations happened across the country.

    "Man, I cried," Khazan said. "I cried. I witnessed the compassion of people, the mercy of people. Had nothing to do with your color or what race you are, or whether you're rich or poor."

    Khazan moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, to escape the harsh racism of the south. Fifty-seven years later, the diner is now a museum and segregation is no more. It's safe to say Khazan has made a major impact on black history.

    "If Obama was living there, he wouldn't have been able to go in to use the toilet in the White House," Khazan said. "We made that possible for him, his wife, and his children."

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