By Brother David L. Carl
A graduate of Harvard, a celebrated war veteran, and the President Emeritus of NC A&T, Dr. Gibbs lifted the Aggies to full academic accreditation and national recognition. He presided over the historic role played by the university and its students in advancing the cause of civil and human rights with the focal point being the Woolworth sit-ins of 1960. During the height of the protests, the state and local elected and appointed officials pressured Gibbs to keep his students on campus and not allow them to participate in the demonstrations.
Unafraid, his response resounded throughout the nation: “We teach our students how to think, not what to think.” The Greensboro sit-ins ignited similar protests nationally, forever changing the modern civil rights movement.
By 1979, North Carolina Governor James Hunt, Jr. would honor Dr. Gibbs with these words: “He embraced a philosophy and faith that even though the conditions of the State, nation, and world may be dark and discouraging, he refused to believe that they were hopeless. He has been a soldier in the everlasting struggle of the human race for liberty, justice, and righteousness. He gave the devotion of his heart and soul to the greatest cause of all, helping people.