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Monday September 20th

Chapel Hill leaders honored at Peace and Justice Plaza ceremony

The Peace and Justice Plaza added two new names to the plaque outside of the post office on Franklin St.
Buy Photos The Peace and Justice Plaza added two new names to the plaque outside of the post office on Franklin St.

The names of two Chapel Hill legends were added to the plaque at the Peace and Justice Plaza in Chapel Hill in recognition of their dedication to the Chapel Hill community on Wednesday morning. 

Mildred “Mama Dip” Council and Harold “Hobo” Ceyes Foster were honored with the addition of their names to the historical plaque. 

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger recalled the community-oriented legacies of Council and Foster during her remarks at the ceremony.

“Another thing I love about today with celebrating Harold Foster and Mildred Council is they’re both fabulous community champions, but both doing it in very different ways,” Hemminger said. 

In 1976 Council opened Mama Dip’s Kitchen, originally known as Dip’s Country Kitchen, which quickly became a mainstay known for its Southern comfort food. 

“She went about by bringing people together, breaking bread together, having community conversations in a calm manner within the restaurant and with other gathering spaces,” Hemminger said. “And then she warmed your stomach.”

Council, who passed away in May 2018, dedicated her life to serving Chapel Hill and beyond. She co-founded the Community Dinner, an annual event aimed at highlighting diversity in the community, and served on several boards, including the Orange County Prison Board. Council often helped and hired prisoners after their release.

Collene Rogers, a lifelong friend of Council, spoke at the ceremony, sharing memories of the woman she called her second mother, sister and best friend. 

“She was a rock in this community,” Rogers said. “The children always mattered to her.”

Harold Foster, a civil rights leader and activist, helped spark the modern civil rights movement in Chapel Hill as part of the Chapel Hill Nine. In 1960 he and eight other high school students organized a sit-in at the Colonial Drug Store and asked to be given the same service as the store’s white customers. They were then arrested for the sit-in.

“Mr. Foster’s bravery in the face of hatred forever altered Chapel Hill and helped to lead our town down a better path,” Chapel Hill town manager Maurice Jones said.

David Mason, Jr., another member of the Chapel Hill Nine, spoke on behalf of Foster at the ceremony. 

“Hobo’s concern for others led him on a historical journey for justice that began here in Chapel Hill,” Mason said. 

Council and Foster join the names of 15 other Chapel Hill leaders and activists on the Peace and Justice Plaza plaque, including UNC basketball coach Dean Smith and North Carolina’s first openly gay elected official Joe Herzenberg.

Jones said including their names on the will help to ensure they live on forever. 

“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,” Jones said.

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