An old Woolworth's "five and dime" store that is a legendary site marking the American civil-rights movement and is now the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, and the place where "sit-in" became part of the American lexicon. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Sixty years ago, four Black students from North Carolina A&T State University staged a sit-in at a Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter that refused to serve African Americans. Their sit-in inspired other sit-ins throughout the South. The young men became known as the Greensboro Four.

The Charlotte Hornets have partnered with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to celebrate the Greensboro Four along with historically Black colleges and universities on Feb. 22.

Commemorating the Greensboro Four

“Black History Month recognizes an important part of our country’s history, and we are proud this year to commemorate the role of the Greensboro Four on the 60th anniversary of their sit-ins,” said Hornets President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield.

Throughout February, the organization has hosted activities like Hornets players visiting the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture with local middle school students, as well as a bus trip to Greensboro for Hornets staff members to visit the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.

The highlight of the month will be Saturday, Feb. 22, when the organization hosts a community luncheon and panel discussion commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Greensboro Four’s historic sit-in. One of the surviving members of the Greensboro Four, Jibreel Khazan, will serve on the panel.

Additional panelists include:

  • Rep. Alma Adams, one of only two African-American women to represent North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives;
  • Chief Justice Henry Frye Sr., the first African American elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in the 20th century and the first African American to sit on the North Carolina Supreme Court; and
  • Damion Thomas, curator of sports at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Moderator Sandra Hughes made history in 1974 as the first African-American woman to host a daily talk show in Greensboro. Four years later, Hughes became the first African-American woman in the Southeast to host the nationally-syndicated “PM Magazine.”

Game attendees can honor the impact of the Greensboro Four during the Hornets halftime show.

The Greensboro Four luncheon begins at 11 a.m. at The Terrace at Cedar Hill (800 W. Hill St.). Tickets start at $375. Purchase tickets here.

HBCU Night

It’s also HBCU Night at the hive. An “HBCU to Executive Panel” discussion kicks off at noon, featuring a variety of leaders sharing stories about their paths to success. Panelists include:

  • Andres D. Martin, founder and executive director of HBCU Night, Inc.;
  • Travis P. Jackson, founder and CEO of HBCU PrideNation;
  • Milan Lee, senior solutions engineer at Salesforce;
  • Sydney M. Brunson, global diversity and inclusion communities and outreach leader at Microsoft; and
  • Charles Whitfield, director of live events and community outreach for Beasley Media Group.

Following the panel, students can consider their HBCU options and meet admission representatives during a college fair. A special pregame HBCU Alumni Mixer will be held in the arena’s Craft Beer Garden, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting local HBCU alumni chapters.

The game tips off against the Brooklyn Nets at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets for HBCU Night activities, visit hornetsbhm.com/hbcu.

Kia O. Moore has a passion for the power of media and culture. She has worked as a freelance writer since 2008. Her love for all things hip-hop culture, and her innate need to create harmony and understanding,...