You know when you’re walking around late at night in socks and a t-shirt with no pants on and you’re opening the refrigerator door and you don’t really know what you want, but you want something? Here you go. You want this.
Franklin McCain, one of the “Greensboro Four” who in 1960 sat down at a whites-only lunch counter in North Carolina and launched a sit-in movement that would soon spread to cities across the nation, has died.
McCain died Thursday “after a brief illness at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro.”
McCain once told NPR, as WUNC says, about how he overcame any fear about being arrested — or having something worse happen:
"I certainly wasn’t afraid. And I wasn’t afraid because I was too angry to be afraid. If I were lucky I would be carted off to jail for a long, long time. And if I were not so lucky, then I would be going back to my campus, in a pine box."
In it remembrance of McCain, the station adds this account of the historic day in 1960:
"McCain and his classmates walked into the store, purchased some items and then walked over to the segregated counter. McCain recalls:
" ‘Fifteen seconds after I sat on that stool, I had the most wonderful feeling. I had a feeling of liberation, restored manhood; I had a natural high. And I truly felt almost invincible.’
"He hadn’t even asked for service. When McCain and the others did, they were denied. A manager told them they weren’t welcome, a police officer patted his hand with his night stick. The tension grew but it never turned violent.
"As McCain and the others continued to sit at the counter, an older white woman who had been observing the scene walked up behind him:
" ‘And she whispered in a calm voice,boys, I’m so proud of you.’
"McCain says he was stunned:
" ‘What I learned from that little incident was don’t you ever, ever stereotype anybody in this life until you at least experience them and have the opportunity to talk to them."
"Woolworth’s closed early and the four men returned to campus with empty stomachs and no idea about what they had just started. The next day another 20 students joined them and 300 came out by the end of the week. Word of the sit-ins spread by newspapers and demonstrations began in Winston-Salem, Durham, Asheville and Wilmington; within 2 months of the initial sit-in, 54 cities in nine different states had movements of their own.
"The Greensboro lunch counter desegregated six months later."
Tonight, just as I was about to go to bed, I found out about Phil Every’s passing and I cried like crazy. What a sad, hollow feeling.
I’m my family’s weirdo. Nobody else does what I do, and I’ve always envied folks that could harmonize with blood relations. I feel like being part of that action could give you the power to turn back time and cuddle rattlesnakes. My whole life I’ve had this longing — and always secretly pretended I was an Everly Brother. I’ve had what I think is very close to that intuitive mumuration action with Scott Ligon and Nora O’Connor Kean and Casey McDonough — and I’ve treasured every second of those vibrations. I live for that feeling.
And now Phil Everly has died. It’s a weird dull clang. It feels like a species has gone extinct. There’s no fixing it — no bringing back the Everly Brothers.
But man — what a legacy — what a vast influence they’ve had on so many musicians. Damn. And they were incredible musicians themselves — hot — like glass-blowing white hot. Check out this GREAT podcast that is seriously helping me out here on this couch in southern Wisconsin this frozen morning — dogs snoring, winds howling, wine all gone, my heart breaking.