Town of Chapel Hill Adds Two Names to Peace & Justice Plaza
To recognize lifelong commitments to furthering the causes of peace and justice, the Town of Chapel Hill is adding two names to Peace & Justice Plaza. Mildred Council, known to many as Mama Dip, and Harold Foster, one of the Chapel Hill Nine, will have their names permanently inscribed on the public marker in the plaza. The community is invited to mark the occasion at a public dedication ceremony planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 5, in front of the downtown Post Office at the corner of Franklin and Henderson streets.
Mildred “Mama Dip” Council was a culinary and community matriarch known for her traditional Southern cooking and her community service. She served on the Orange County Prison Board and was known for hiring and helping prisoners once they were released. Council co-founded the Community Dinner, an annual event that highlights diversity in the community and asks attendees to “sit down with a stranger and leave with a friend.”
As a high school student, Harold Foster was the leader of the Chapel Hill Nine, a group of students who sparked the Civil Rights Movement in Chapel Hill. On Feb. 28, 1960, Foster and the other students entered the Colonial Drug Store, sat down at the counter, and asked for the same service afforded to white customers. It is believed to be one of the first such sit-ins organized by high school students. Foster and the rest of the Nine were later arrested for this action, which ignited the movement locally.
The plaza and its granite tribute marker were dedicated in September 2009. Council and Foster will join fifteen others whose names are on the marker and who also dedicated their lives to creating a better community: Charlotte Adams, Hank Anderson, James Brittian, Yonni Chapman, Rebecca Clark, Joe Herzenberg, Rev. Charles M. Jones, Dan Pollitt, Mildred Ringwalt, Hubert Robinson, Dean Smith, Joe Straley, Lucy Straley, Bill Thorpe, and Gloria Williams. Names for the marker are considered through a nomination process to Chapel Hill Town Council. Nominees for the marker must no longer be living and have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the causes of peace and justice.
The ceremony on June 5 will begin at 10 a.m. and is expected to last about 45 minutes. Members of the Council and Foster families will reflect on their family members being honored and the Chapel Hill Mayor and Town Manager will make brief remarks. Information about parking downtown can be found at www.parkonthehill.com.