Alongside the names of former UNC basketball coach Dean Smith, former Chapel Hill Town Council member Bill Thorpe and a handful of others, two more names engraved into the granite slab at Peace and Justice Plaza were revealed Wednesday.
The honor is designated for members of the community who have been selected for demonstrating a “lifelong commitment to the causes of peace and justice.”
Joining the group on Wednesday were Mildred Council and Harold Foster.
“Mildred Council and Harold Foster left indelible marks on Chapel Hill,” town manager Maurice Jones said at the unveiling ceremony. “And today we acknowledge and celebrate their contributions to this town’s history.
“I hope, by placing their names on this marker, future generations will continue to know their stories and will seek to find ways to fulfill their goals of bringing people together for the common good.”
Council was better known across the community as “Mama Dip.” Her cooking made Mama Dip’s restaurant a culinary icon in Chapel Hill and across the South. She also served on the Orange County Prison Board and co-founded the Community Dinner as an annual event to highlight the diversity of the community.
Foster was a part of the Chapel Hill Nine, a group of teenagers who led the Civil Rights Movement in Chapel Hill. In February 1960, the group sat at the counter of the Colonial Drug Store and asked to be served. He and the rest of the Chapel Hill Nine were arrested for that request. The actions of the group were honored by the Town of Chapel Hill earlier this year with a plaque at the former location of the Colonial Drug Store.
Town Council member Allen Buansi told the crowd gathered on Wednesday that he always thought of Council and Foster as family members because of the strong example they put forward.
“They may not be related to me by blood but by the examples that they’ve demonstrated, by the leadership that they’ve shown over the course of their lives, they have set a fine, shining example for young people like me going forward.”
The granite slab, which was dedicated in 2009, is filling up with names. But Mayor Pam Hemminger said that would not stop the town from honoring those who have exhibited the community’s values.
“We are looking to do bigger and broader and more display here at Peace and Justice Plaza because we have run out of room,” the mayor said. “We have so many community champions, and we want to be able to expand. We want to continue to grow and change in positive ways that brings community together and makes this a better community for all.”