On a cold, snowy day in 1960, nine black Chapel Hill teenagers, not yet old enough to vote at the time, sat down at a table in a Franklin Street drug store, and refused to leave when they were denied service because of the color of their skin.
Now, nearly 60 years later, a task force created by the town council made recommendations for a commemorative marker to remember that day, which saw the first sit-in of Chapel Hill’s civil rights’ movement and sparked a decade of protests against segregation in Chapel Hill, according to local historians.
The Historic Civil Rights Commemoration Task Force was created in September of last year to explore Chapel Hill’s civil rights’ history and find ways to commemorative its significant events, including the protests of the “Chapel Hill Nine,” the group of Lincoln High School students who entered into the Colonial Drug Co on Franklin Street on Sunday February 28 in 1960.
Last week, members of that task force returned with a proposal outlining possible details for a marker in front of 450 West Franklin Street, where the Colonial Drug store use to stand. The West End Wine Bar is currently in that property. The task force consulted with the owners and management, who approved of the design plans laid out for the marker.
The town council voted unanimously to accept the recommendations of the task force, and forward the plans to the town manager for implementation.
Danita Mason-Hogans, daughter of Chapel Hill Nine member Dave Mason and member of the task force, said the marker and continued opportunities for learning were important to the Chapel Hill’s history.
“I think its good for Chapel Hill, and I hope it is inspiring to all the young people who sit in their class, not only to understand that they did come from somewhere, but there is so much more of the story that has to be told.”
The recommendation lays out a rough timeline for construction, aiming for completion by February 2020, the 60th anniversary of the actions of a group of Chapel Hill teenagers in the early days of the Civil Rights’ Era.