Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil inspired well over 100 members of the
St. John’s community at a Founder’s Week presentation held on
Tuesday, January 27, at the Kelleher Center, Staten Island campus.
After showing a short video describing his historic 1960 sit-in at
a Greensboro, NC “whites only” lunch counter, Maj. Gen. McNeil
engaged the audience with an inspirational retelling of the factors
that motivated him and his classmates to peacefully defy racial
segregation. Maj. Gen. McNeil honored those who came before him in
the civil rights movement and praised his faith and family for
giving him the strength to persevere despite violent antagonism and
eventual imprisonment. The audience was enthralled by the strength
of Maj. Gen. McNeil’s gentle humility. When asked about the changes
he underwent as a result of his civil disobedience, he referred to
the 2009 Founder’s Week theme, Vincentian Transformation: Changing
Hearts, Creating Peace, “I guess we were Vincentian without even
knowing it,” he said.