It was 50 years ago; the Greensboro Woolworths sit-in. One of the surviving members of the Greensboro 4 remembers the support they received from an unlikely person — a little old white lady. This is who I want to be when I grow up.
Here’s an excerpt from a Morning Edition story:
McCain shares his recollection of the exchanges the four African-American men had with the lunch-counter staff, the store manager and a policeman who arrived on the scene — and also a lesson he learned that day.
An older white woman sat at the lunch counter a few stools down from McCain and his friends.
“And if you think Greensboro, N.C., 1960, a little old white lady who eyes you with that suspicious look … she’s not having very good thoughts about you nor what you’re doing,” McCain says.
Eventually, she finished her doughnut and coffee. And she walked behind McNeil and McCain — and put her hands on their shoulders.
“She said in a very calm voice, ‘Boys, I am so proud of you. I only regret that you didn’t do this 10 years ago.'” McCain recalls.
“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. I’m even more cognizant of that toda—– situations like tha—– and I’m always open to people who speak differently, who look differently, and who come from different places,” he says.