4 college freshmen.-in the fall of 1959, four young men (joseph mcneil, franklin mccain, ezell blair, jr. and david richmond) enrolled as freshmen at north carolina a&t university. the four young men quickly became a close-knit group and met every evening in their dorm rooms for bull sessions. it was during these nightly discussions that they considered challenging the institution of segregation.the breaking point for the group came after christmas vacation when joseph mcneil was returning to n.c. a&t after spending the holidays at home in new york. mcneil was denied service at a greyhound bus station in greensboro. mcneil?s frustrating experience was shared by the group, and they were willing to make the necessary sacrifices - even if it meant their own lives - to provoke change in society.on that final night in january 1960 in scott hall, the four friends challenged each other to stop talking and take action. they didnt realize the journey they would take the next day would ignite a movement, change a nation and inspire a world.more background on greensboro, north carolinalike much of the southern united states at the turn of the decade, greensboro, north carolina, was largely segregated and lead almost exclusively by white elected officials. the citys public schools were segregated. many businesses in the downtown area, including various diners and theaters, had designated whites only sections and denied african american patrons certain services. there were public buildings with separate water fountains and colored waiting rooms, and some establishments had separate entrances for black patrons. greensboro was also home to public swimming pools and golf courses that were segregated; african americans had requested integration of these facilities in the 1950s.but there were a number of factors setting greensboro apart from much of the south as well, and because of this, the social climate in greensboro more readily lent itself to social progression. historically, greensboro could trace its tolerant climate to quaker influences dating back to the 1700s. by the mid-1900s, many saw greensboro, a city governed by sophisticated lawyers associated with large companies, as a bustling new south city that lacked some of the racist attitudes prevalent in many other southern cities; business and educational spokesmen at the time declared that greensboro actually had a better class of colored citizens. greensboro was also home to five colleges three white and two black and these institutions provided the city with intellectual stimulation and a population of energetic young people with progressive attitudes. greensboro was also the first city in the south to announce that it would comply with the 1954 brown v. board of education ruling that declared public school segregation unlawful (however, greensboro schools did not actually integrate until the 1970s, and many city residents were resentful of the delay). [read more about the integration of greensboro schools]if greensboro with its complex racial dynamics was the ideal city for the birth of the sit-ins, then north carolina a&t university with its previous record of protest activities provided the ideal campus climate for students seeking to bring about radical social change. in the late 1930s, a&t students were involved in a series of strikes in protest of administration policies. in 1937, a&t students boycotted local movie theaters to protest the practice of deleting certain film scenes that involved african americans; the 1937 film boycotts did not end until a theater brought african american jazz musician fats waller to greensboro for a special concert.there had also been protest activities by a&t students throughout the mid and late 1950s. one noted incident occurred in 1955 when then-north carolina governor luther hodges spoke before a crowd of students on campus. hodges advocated voluntary segregation and asked the all-black north carolina teachers association to endorse racial separation in schools. during his a&t visit, hodges criticized the national association for the advancement of colored people (naacp) and said nigra a mispronunciation of negro generally considered offensive several times in his speech. students responded by making noises to distract the governor, who then stormed out of the room in humiliation.