New mural celebrates students from North Carolina A&T who took part in the lunch counter sit-ins 1960

A creative interpretation of the Greensboro lunch counter sit-in of 1960 is the first in a series of murals that will commemorate the contributions of African Americans and Native Americans to the state. Titled “SERVICE,” the 5-by-50-foot painting by Charleston, S.C., artist Colin Quashie was dedicated at UNC’s School of Government this week.

“This painting not only represents the full breadth of our work, but also the value we place on the accomplishments of African Americans in North Carolina,” said Michael Smith, dean of the School of Government.

The mural showcases 40 individuals and more than eight events symbolizing North Carolina’s African American history associated with civil rights, government, business, journalism and education. The painting shows a gathering of African-American leaders at the counter of a diner not unlike Woolworth’s.

The artist has featured the Greensboro Four – Joseph McNeil, David Richmond, Jibreel Khazan (formerly known as Ezell Blair Jr.) and Franklin McCain, students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University who took part in the lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro – as chefs.

“They literally took possession of the lunch counter with their refusal to leave until served. By seeking service they were, by extension, serving a cause greater than themselves,” Quashie said.

Funding for the project was provided by Local Government Federal Credit Union.

“The decision to fund this project was a no-brainer for us,” said Maurice Smith, president of the credit union. “Our mission is to improve the lives of North Carolinians. Sometimes we do that by offering affordable financial services; sometimes, by setting an example.”

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