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Ezell A. Blair, Jr.

Biography: 

Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (1941-  ), referred to as Izell Blair in Who Speaks for the Negro?, is an American civil rights activist. In February 1960, while an 18 year-old freshman at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College (A&T), Blair and three other students began a sit-in protest at the lunch counter of a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina. The “Greensboro Four,” as they came to be known, acted to challenge the lunch counter’s refusal to serve African Americans. By the spring of 1960 the sit-in movement spread to 54 cities in nine states in the South. After graduating from A&T in 1963, Blair encountered difficulties finding a job in his native Greensboro. He later moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he changed his name to Jibreel Khazan.

Image: Original caption: 2/1/1960 - Greensboro, NC: The participants in the first lunch counter sit-in are shown on the street after leaving the Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth's by a side exit. The four North Carolina A & T students are (L-R): David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr., and Joseph McNeil. (No photographers were allowed into Woolworth's during this first protest; this is the only photo of all four original protesters together.).  Copyright: Jack Moebes/Corbis.

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