Ezell Alexander Blair Sr. was born on December 14, 1919, in Greensboro, North Carolina. His family lived in the Warnersville section of Greensboro and he graduated from Dudley High School. Blair earned bachelor’s and master of science degrees from North Carolina A&T State University, as well as a second masters degree in mathematics from North Carolina State University. He served in the United States Army during World War II.
Blair was an employee of the Greensboro Public Schools for thirty years. During that time, he taught mathematics, drafting, and industrial arts at Greensboro’s Lincoln Junior High School and James B. Dudley High School. He was also president and owner of Blair Construction. Blair was a member of Shiloh Baptist Church and the J.T. Hairston Memorial Apartments Board of Directors.
Ezell Blair, Sr. and his wife, Corene, were the parents of Jibreel Khazan, (Ezell A. Blair Jr.) one of the four North Carolina A&T State University students who participated in the first sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro on February 1, 1960. Their daughter Gloria Jean, a student at Bennett College, was also an active participant in demonstrations.
Blair was awarded the “Stepping Stone to Freedom” by Greensboro’s Sit-In 30th Anniversary Committee, the “Unsung Hero” award from the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, and the Hayes-Taylor YMCA Century Club award. In addition, he was honored by the North Carolina A&T University with the Certificate of Commendation for his contributions toward the struggle for equality for all citizens of Greensboro. Ezell Blair, Sr. died in Greensboro on April 18, 1997.