WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - City council members met today and voted to approve honoring a Wilmington native who made significant contributions to both the state and the country.
The first major step to designate 3rd street, from Market St. to Davis St., in honor of Wilmington native Major General Joseph A. McNeill was approved by Wilmington city council.
McNeill is most remembered as a member of the Greensboro Four and their protest against segregation in Greensboro, NC. They participated in the Woolworth counter sit-ins in 1960. The NC A&T university state freshman made history by staging a sit-in in an all-white lunch counter in Woolworths in 1960, sparking a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement.
McNeil was not present in tonight’s meeting but his family did attend, including his granddaughter, Franchon Francees.
“He would feel proud, he’s proud of all of us, not because of what he’s done but because of what we’re doing. And because one of the things he says to all of his grandchildren is “we live life, we’re not on the sidelines, we’re actively in it,” so he’s proud of all of his grandchildren, including me," Franchees said.
Francees described the moment when she first saw the street sign with her grandfather’s name on it.
“I think the coolest part for me was seeing the big sign, they showed us a sign of what it’s going to look like and then they show the big sign and I was like, wow, that’s huge. So that was exciting.”
Although this was a very successful step forward, the move will still require further approval from the state.