February 4: Bennett College : A Cornerstone of Greensboro — and HBCU — Tradition

Originally founded to educate freed men and women, Bennett is one of two all-women’s HBCUs in the country — and the official sister institution to Morehouse College, the nation’s only all-male HBCU.

According to some, the well-publicized February 1 Greensboro Woolworths sit-in was actually planned and originally supposed to be executed by Bennett students. According former Bennett NAACP adviser John Hatchett (also a former acting chancellor at Alabama A&M), former President Willa B. Player suggested the Belles coordinate with students at A & T College. Because of Bennett’s residential status, President Player was concerned about who would sustain the movement when the Belles went home for the Christmas break.

“It was agreed that sometime between the Christmas recess and the return of the Bennett women to the college the students from A. and T. would put our idea into execution, and we would support them upon our return. Included in the contingent of students from A. and T. were all four of the young men who were destined to become the ‘Famous Four.’ They heard; they participated; they believed; and they accepted,” Hatchett said.

Autumn A. Arnett is an education reporter and editor and an avid sports fan based in Austin, Texas. www.a2arnett.com