McCain was raised in Washington, DC, where he graduated from Eastern High School. McCain often speaks of growing up as a product of the "Big Lie," which is his name for his parents' claim that if he stayed out of trouble and earned good grades, he could do anything in life. He later realized that the color of his skin made his parents' claim unrealistic. After high school, McCain attended Greensboro-based North Carolina A&T College. His freshman-year roommate was David Richmond, another member of the Greensboro Four. In 1963 McCain graduated from A&T with a degree in chemistry and biology. He stayed in Greensboro to pursue a master's degree and then began his career with the Celanese Corporation in Charlotte, NC, where he stayed for almost 35 years. McCain married Bettye Davis, a fellow participant in the Greensboro civil rights demonstrations. They raised three sons together. Now retired, McCain has remained active in many civic activities, including serving as chair of the North Carolina regional committee for the NAACP legal defense and education fund.