Franklin McCain, one of 4 who sat at lunch bar
McCain died of respiratory complications Thursday, Frank McCain of Greensboro said Friday.
Franklin McCain was one of four freshmen students from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro who sat down at the local "whites only" lunch counter on Feb. 1, 1960.
"The best feeling of my life," McCain said in a 2010 interview with the Associated Press, was "sitting on that dumb stool."
McCain, Joseph McNeil, David Richmond, and Ezell Blair Jr. (now known as Jibreel Khazan) planned their action carefully. They bought school supplies and toiletries so their receipts would offer proof that the lunch counter was the only part of the store where racial segregation still ruled.
The young men stayed until the store closed, but returned the next day and subsequent days. They were joined by more protesters, whose numbers built to at least 1,000 by the fifth day. Within weeks, sit-ins launched in more than 50 cities in nine states. The Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro was desegregated within six months.
The sit-in led to the formation in Raleigh of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which became the cutting edge of the student direct-action civil rights movement. The demonstrations between 1960 and 1965 helped pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.