She didn’t want her front-row seat to history.
It had been months earlier, on Feb. 1, 1960, when four N.C. A&T freshmen — Joseph McNeil, Jibreel Khazan (formerly known as Ezell Blair Jr.) and the late David Richmond and Franklin McCain — sat down at the counter and tried ordering, sparking sit-ins across the country. While Black people could shop in the store, they could not sit down at the counter and order.
“I was trying to get up from there before anything happened,” Tisdale said before her death in 2019.
Management, in ceding to months of protests and lost revenue, wanted some control over the situation. They chose Tisdale and three other Black employees to be the first African Americans served there.
By the time the protesters noticed and rushed in, the shy young woman had wiped her mouth and crumpled up her napkin.
At the age of 11, Malvin Gray Johnson made New Year’s calendars and sold them in the community, according to a 1958 biography written by his sister, Maggie Gilmer, a Bennett College graduate who gave Johnson his first drawing lesson.
“He drew paintings and put them in the annual fairs in Greensboro. … To his surprise he won first prize on each of them every year,” she wrote.
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