GREENSBORO - The North Carolina A&T Aggies will have the national stage at its disposal Thursday night, and they plan to make the most of it.
ESPNU will televise A&T's football game against Morgan State live from Aggie Stadium starting at 7:30 p.m. It is A&T's first TV appearance in two years and the first at Aggie Stadium in five years. To celebrate their return to television, the Aggies have filled the evening with outstanding entertainment and special guests.
Dr. Franklin McCain, one of the Greensboro/A&T Four, will be the Aggies' honorary captain and will lead the team onto the field prior to kickoff. On February, 1, 1960, Dr. McCain and three other A&T college freshmen - Ezell Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Joseph McNeil and David Richmond - entered a F.W. Woolworth's store in downtown Greensboro, sat down at the store's segregated "white's only" lunch counter, ordered coffee and changed the course of American history.
Following store policy, Woolworth's refused to serve the four gentlemen, and then closed early to force them out. But the next day, several more students showed up to "sit-in" at the counter. Within a few days, more people participated in the daily protests. By month's end, similar demonstrations in towns and cities across the country were occurring.
"We're trying to teach our young men about leadership," said A&T head coach Rod Broadway. "We're trying to incorporate our players into the great legacy of this school. We're trying to get them to understand what and who they represent every time they step into a classroom, a place in the community or on a football field. I don't think there is any greater example of leadership than what those four young men did that day at F.W. Woolworth's."
Before Dr. McCain leads the Aggies, Grammy Award Winning Recording Artist Fantasia will sing the National Anthem. Fantasia, a native of High Point, N.C., brought prestige to the Triad area when she became the 2004 winner of "American Idol." She made Billboard history with the single "I Believe" by becoming the first artist in the history of Billboard Hot 100 Chart to debut at No. 1 with her first solo record.
The award-winning Blue & Gold Marching Machine will perform at halftime, and there will be a brief step show during the half.
There will also be football played on Thursday night. The Aggies (2-1) will be playing in their conference opener against the Bears (1-2). The Bears will be a challenge thanks to star running back Travis Davidson. Davidson leads the MEAC in rushing with 106.7 yards per game. A&T will counter with a defense that is ranked among the nation's best in total defense (No.2), pass defense (No. 5), rushing defense (No. 12) and scoring defense (No. 4).
The stadium gates will open at 6 p.m. Tailgating will begin at 4:30 p.m.