Monday, January 11, 2010

The Greensboro Four

The starring four are finally complete (until I mess with them again). 

Now that they're done, the piece is starting to gain momentum. I've made it a point to paint everyday - which for me is a lot considering the fact that I don't like to paint that much. The only reason I do is because it's the only way I can see and share what's in my head with others. Make sense?

Larger detailed images and bios of Jibreel Khazan and Franklin McCain are posted beneath their pics after the break.

Joseph McNeil

David Richmond

Jibreel Khazan
Jibreel Khazan, (born Ezell Blair, Jr.) was one of the original four who took part in the Woolworth Sit-ins. He was born in Greensboro, NC. And graduated from Dudley High School where his father was a teacher. He received a BS in Sociology from North Carolina A & T State University in 1963. While a student at A & T, Khazan was President of the Junior Class, the Student Government Association, the campus NAACP, and the Greensboro Congress for Racial Equality. Jibreel attended law school at Howard University for almost a year. After finding it nearly impossible to find a job in Greensboro because of his reputation as being “one of those four troublemakers”, he relocated to New Bedford, Mass. in 1965. New Bedford has a special place in his heart because it was where Frederick Douglass escaped to freedom. In 1968, he became a member of the New England Islamic Center and took on his present name. Jibreel works with developmentally disabled people for the CETA program in New Bedford. He also has worked with the AFL/CIO Trade Council in Boston, the Opportunities Industrialization Center, and the Rodman Job Corps Center. He is married to the former Lorraine France George of New Bedford. They have three children, one of whom graduated from NC A & T.

Franklin McCain
Franklin McCain was born in Union County, NC and raised in Washington, DC. During his junior year in high school his family moved to Greensboro where he attended Dudley High School, however, his family moved back to the District of Columbia and he graduated from Eastern High School in Washington. He received a BS. degree in Chemistry and Biology from North Carolina A & T State University in 1964.

While he was an A & T student he roomed with David Richmond - around the corner from Ezell Blair Jr. and Joseph McNeil on the second floor of Scott Hall. McCain grew up deeply influenced by his grandmother and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Franklin spoke about how his grandparents and parents would tell him, “The Big Lie”, which went something like this; if he behaved in a respectful and modest way, and kept up his grades, then all opportunities would be open to him. As he grew older, he realized that the color of his skin kept a lot of opportunities from him, even one as simple as sitting down with other folks at a lunch counter. The way the world was structured made him very angry, and he knew that if he did not do something about it he would not be able to live with himself.

After he graduated from A & T in 1963, he stayed in Greensboro, and went to graduate school. In 1964 he married the former Bettye Davis and they raised three sons. In 1965 he joined the Celanese Corporation in Charlotte as a chemist and is now retired. As a resident of Charlotte, Franklin has been on many boards and has worked to bring about some changes in the educational, civic, spiritual, and political life of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.

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