Jibreel Khazan was born as Ezell Blair Jr. in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1941. Following graduation from Dudley High School in 1959, he attended North Carolina A&T State University on an academic scholarship. Khazan and three other A&T freshmen, now known as the “Greensboro Four,” are credited with initiating the sit-in movement when they sat down at the F. W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro on February 1, 1960 and requested service. Khazan subsequently participated in negotiations between the student protestors, Woolworth’s management, and the Human Relations Commission. He continued to be active in civil rights efforts as a member of the campus chapter of the NAACP, the Greensboro Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) chapter, and as a leader in the student government association. Khazan graduated from A&T in 1963 with a degree in sociology and then attended the Howard University School of Law for one year. He returned to Greensboro briefly before moving to Massachusetts in 1965. Three years later Khazan joined the New England Islamic Center and took on his present name.
In addition to his activities with civil rights organizations, Jibreel Khazan has worked as a counselor for developmentally disabled people, with the AFL/CIO Trade Council in Boston, at the Opportunities Industrialization Center, and at the Rodman Job Corps Center. In 1994, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from North Carolina A&T State University for his role in the civil rights movement.