CHARLOTTE, N.C.–The bells rang out at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church as the family of Franklin McCain arrived for a visitation and funeral service. “It’s a good day that we are able to say ‘thank you’ to a man of this caliber today,” said The International Civil Rights Center and Museum Founder Skip Alston.
McCain’s family greeted activist Jesse Jackson before he gave his tribute to the 73-year-old Civil Rights Pioneer who died on January 9th of respiratory ailments. “It changed America for the better and forever,” said Jackson.
McCain helped kick off the Civil Rights Movement with a non-violent sit in at an all-white lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960. “It had an international impact,” said The International Civil Rights Center and Museum Founder Earl Jones. McCain, Major General Joseph McNeil, and two other students from the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina belonged to what later became known as the Greensboro Four. “In terms of impact, we had no idea it would be so widely embraced. Not only throughout the state of North Carolina, but throughout the South and our Country,” McNeil said.
After graduation he worked for the Celanese Corporation in Charlotte. “His legacy has paved the way for individuals like myself,” said National NAACP Board Member Lenny Springs.
McCain’s wife died in 2013. He is survived by three sons, three sisters, and six grandchildren, a life that stood for something.
Former NAACP Legal Defense Fund Director Elaine Jones said, “It stands for commitment to principle, believing in a bedrock sense of fundamental fairness, and believing in justice.”
And a legacy others will never forget, said Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina Alumnus Desiree Barney, “No matter where we are in our lives, we can always make a difference.”