GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Hundreds of people gathered at North Carolina A&T University, Thursday, to pay their respects to civil rights hero and "Greensboro Four" member Franklin McCain. He passed away Thursday at 10:26 pm at the age of 73.
The memorial service included personal stories, laughter, singing and emotional tributes. Close family and friends will say farewell at a private ceremony, Friday.
NC A&T alumna Dr. Velma Speight-Buford said, "I can imagine Frank right now saying, 'Listen, when is the next march? And who's gonna participate? Who's gonna be ready, and do you know what you need to do in order to get it done?' I mean this was a man of words who said what he wanted, and he always spoke the truth, and when he said, 'Let's do it,' that meant let's do it."
In talking about McCain's relationship with the younger generation, Speight-Burford said, "He would want them to have the courage to be able to right the many injustices that still exist. And he would want them also to be able to demonstrate and persevere and say that no, it will not stop here. We cannot just celebrate and leave it. We must move."
Canisha Cierra Turner, an NC A&T senior and current SGA president, said, "He was very personable, and so that, itself, was a lasting impact. Each time he came back, whether it was for the February One celebration or if it was just for an endeavor here on the university's campus, he was there on the ground talking to students. That impact, alone, will forever stay in our hearts."
She added, "We loved the discussions we had about life, about how times were in the 1960s, what it took for them to plan an endeavor such as this and what we have to do now to continue the legacy. So it's a lasting impact."
David Miller, NC A&T alumnus and former SGA president, echoed Turner's reflection of McCain. He said McCain was "very focused and determined, and he was always challenging us as students to take the next step. From the first day that we met him, his challenge to us was 'what was the cause of your day, and are you actively involved in solving the problems and providing the solutions for your time?' So he was a constant champion of justice, and on those occasions when we all interacted or celebrated February One, that's what he challenged us to do."
READ: NC A&T Vows to Carry on Franklin McCain's Legacy
READ: Franklin McCain, of the Greensboro Four, Dies
WFMY News 2
WFMY News 2