The Greensboro Four chose a strategy of nonviolence, which made it easy for others to rally to their cause. They showed great physical courage and perseverance, which allowed the spark they had struck to catch and spread. And they sought inclusion in an America that had made them second-class citizens, which helped America become what it had pretended to be.
I knew the story of the Sit-ins. I knew the pride this city takes in this piece of local history. But I did not know how the philosophy of passive resistance had come to the store at the corner of South Elm and Sycamore. I looked at myself, and at my own 17-year-old son, and I wondered, where does a college kid find the strength to risk his life for justice? I was curious about how the men themselves see their roles, and the role of Greensboro itself.
So I asked them.