On February 1, 1960, four Black students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University took a stand against segregation. 

This week, Guilford County students celebrated the legacy of the A&T Four by literally walking in their footsteps.

Students from A&T Four Middle College and other local high schools traveled down Market Street in Greensboro from the NC A&T campus to the old Woolworth building, which is now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. 

When they arrived, Principal Travis Seegars asked students to think about the walk they had just taken.

“Imagine coming down Market each day, with five additional people, six additional people, 20 additional people, 30 additional people coming to this exact spot,” Seegars said. “Again, for justice. For equality.”

Sixty-three years ago, the A&T Four, as they would later be known, walked about a mile from campus to the F. W. Woolworth building in downtown Greensboro. 

They sat down at the “whites-only” lunch counter and asked to be served, helping to launch the sit-in movement across the south. After about six months of these protests, Woolworth’s lunch counter was desegregated. 

Dudley High School Principal Lise' Timmons McLaughlin said students were impacted by the march. 

"They're around the same age as the gentleman that did it at that time," McLaughlin said. "And so it's just really, really moving and powerful. No matter how cold it is, no matter if it's raining, they're still willing to march down that way. So I just say, I feel really good for what the future has in store for our students."

Cheri Keels, the principal of the STEM Early College located at NC A&T, said students will keep learning about the A&T Four after Feb. 1. 

“We'll continue that discussion, you know, as long as we're there,” she said. “We're part of the culture and doing this is a part of embracing the culture, being a high school on the campus of North Carolina A&T.” 

Keith Bradley, an 11th grader at A&T Four Middle College said he would continue to participate in the commemorative marches for the same reason.

“It feels really good to be a part of this to be honest. I like doing events like this because I'm definitely for the culture and I love to learn more about the A&T Four,” Bradley said. “I like to represent stuff like this.” 

Seegars encouraged students to think about the reason behind this walk. 

“So again, today, and each day and each time we do this, remember why we are doing this and what we're doing this for,” he said. “Unity. Peace. Love. Respect. Kindness. Togetherness.” 

Before students marched, they took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the February One Monument.

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

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