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Greensboro Sit-ins - Launch of a Civil Rights Movement

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Key Players

Joseph Alfred McNeil

One of the original four taking part in the Woolworth sit-ins. A Wilmington native, he graduated from Williston Senior High School. McNeil earned a degree in engineering physics from North Carolina A&T State University in 1963. His roommate at Scott Hall on the A&T campus was another sit-in participant, Ezell Blair Jr. McNeil spent six years as a U.S. Air Force officer and attained the rank of captain. He is now a major general in the Air Force Reserves. He worked in computer sales for IBM, as a commercial banker for Bankers Trust in New York City, and as a stock broker for E.F. Hutton in Fayetteville. He now resides in Hempstead, N.Y. He is married to the former Ina Brown, and they have five children.

Audio (MP3)

Bennett College's idea? (:33)
Ralph Johns' involvement (:48)
It was a downpayment for manhood (:55)
Why Woolworth? (1:14)
Suprised at national recogntion so soon (:35)
A&T Chancellor Gibbs' reaction (1:27)
Violence breaks out at the sit-ins (1:32)
The community and broad leadership made it possible (2:34)
Why the movement was so interesting; it went against tradition (:38)
Why the sit-ins stayed non-violent (:55)
When McNeil realized it made an impact (1:11)
"It's been a good life" (1:56)

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