Friday, February 8, 2008

Freedom on the Menu

His voice was that of an older man, but as Franklin McCain spoke on NPR's "All Things Considered," I was transported to a 1960 lunch counter in North Carolina, and heard the fear of a boy doing what was right.

McCain was one of the "Greensboro Four," whose courage started a revolution of change in the United States.

I am reminded of the saying that courage is not the absence of fear, but doing what needs to be done despite the fear. That is what I heard and envisioned as Mr. McCain told his story. ("The Woolworth Sit-In That Launched a Movement" by Michele Norris.)

I first learned of the Woolworth Sit-In when I happened upon a 2004 children's book in the public library called Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford and Jerome Lagarrigue. The picture book is a fictionalized account told from the viewpoint of one of the town's little girls. The book concludes with a factual review of the actual event.

Combining these resources would make an excellent presentation for school children in observance of African American History Month this February. Read the story, then let the students listen to Mr. McCain. His voice; his remembrance; his experience will bring history to life.

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