Franklin McCain

Franklin McCain

Franklin McCain
Franklin McCain Circa 1960
McCain circa 1960
Born (1941-01-03)January 3, 1941
Union County, North Carolina
Died January 9, 2014(2014-01-09) (aged 73)
Moses Cone Hospital, Greensboro, North Carolina
Resting place Oaklawn Cemetery, Charlotte, North Carolina
Alma mater North Carolina A&T State University
Known for Staging a sit-in at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina to protest the store's policy, which refused to serve African American customers.
Home town Washington, D.C.
Religion Christian
Denomination Presbyterian
Spouse(s) Bettye Davis McCain (d. 2013)
Children Franklin McCain Jr.
Wendell McCain
W. Bertrand McCain
Parent(s) Mattie McCain
Warner McCain;

Franklin Eugene McCain (January 3, 1941 – January 9, 2014) was an American civil rights activist and member of the Greensboro Four. McCain, along with fellow North Carolina A&T State University students Ezell Blair, Jr., Joseph McNeil and David Richmond, staged a sit-in protest at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, on February 1, 1960.[1] Their actions were credited with launching the Greensboro sit-ins which successfully brought about the reversal of Woolworth's policy of racial segregation in their southern stores, and increased national sentiment to the fight of African-Americans in the south.[2][3]

Early life and education

Mccain was born in Union County, North Carolina, on January 3, 1941.[4] He attended James B. Dudley High School in Greenboro for one year, but moved with his family to Northeast, Washington, D.C..[3][4] McCain graduated from Eastern High School in Washington D.C. in 1959.[3] In the fall of 1959, McCain enrolled at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. It was during his freshmen year that he just months before joining three other freshman to stage the Greensboro sit-ins at Woolworth's in February 1960.[4]

In 1964, McCain graduated from North Carolina A&T with bachelor's degrees in both biology and chemistry.[4] He later earned his Master of Arts degree from A&T and also studied and trained at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, Princeton University in New Jersey, Farr Associates in Greensboro and American Management Association in New York City.[5]

Later life and death

After graduating from North Carolina A&T, McCain moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he worked at the Celanese Corporation, a chemical manufacturer, where he built upon his career for 35 years.[4] McCain also served as a member of the boards of trustees for both North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central Universities; as well as the Board of Visitors of Bennett College; and the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina.[4]

On January 9, 2014, McCain died from respiratory complications at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina.[2] McCain's death left Ezell Blair (now Jibreel Khazan) and Joseph McNeil as the two surviving members of the Greensboro Four. David Richmond, the fourth member and McCain's freshman college roommate, died in 1990.[4]

Personal Life

McCain was married to his wife Bettye Davis McCain, from 1965 until her death in 2013. The two had three sons: Franklin Jr., Wendell, and W. Bertrand McCain.[4] He was also a member of Sigma Pi Phi, the oldest African-American Greek-lettered organization.


The section of the lunch counter where McCain and his fellow protesters sat is now preserved at the National Museum of American History.[4] In 2002, North Carolina A&T commissioned a monument to be created in honor of McCain and the three other members of the Greensboro Four. The sculpture named February One was unveiled during the 42nd anniversary of the Greensboro Sit-ins.[6] In addition to the monument, the four men each have residence halls named for them on the university campus.[7]


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