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Carrboro proclaims Braxton Dunkin Foushee Day of Service, recognizing first Black town council member

20231031_Peng_city-braxton-foushee-feature
Braxton Foushee, civil rights activist and former Carrboro Town Council member. Photo courtesy of Braxton Dunkin Foushee.

The Carrboro Town Council designated Dec. 13 as Braxton Dunkin Foushee Day of Service in recognition of Carrboro's first Black council member and his service to the community.

The resolution was presented by town council member Eliazar Posada and community historian Danita Mason-Hogans at the Oct. 24 council meeting.

“It was a total surprise for [Braxton],” Barbara Foushee, his wife, a town council member and the sole candidate for mayor, said.

She said he was at home watching the town council meeting when the designation was announced.

The resolution encourages residents to spend Braxton Foushee Day reflecting on and learning about Carrboro’s Black history, as well as performing acts of service for their neighbors and the wider community.

“I feel like the day is really about honoring Braxton and his legacy,” Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils said. “He’s been an activist, an organizer and really at the center of everything in Carrboro for many, many years.”

Barbara said Braxton is very humble and casual when it comes to discussing his accomplishments. Barbara said when she met him for the first time at church, she had no idea who he was or what his achievements were.

Braxton’s activism began when he was a teenager, where he assisted elderly Black citizens of Carrboro with voting registration. 

Braxton attended Lincoln High School when he first began his involvement in local activism, Seils said. He said the resolution is a product of the efforts of many people, including members of the Lincoln High Alumni Association. 

Lincoln High was one of Chapel Hill’s all-Black schools before it was desegregated in 1966. The building is now the Lincoln Center, which houses administrative offices for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District. 

In 1969, Braxton became the first Black member of the Carrboro Town Council, which was then called the Board of Aldermen, a position he served in until 1981. He said he currently serves as a jury commissioner for the county, as well as a Democratic precinct judge.

Barbara said Braxton works at polling sites every year, and that he is preparing for this year's municipal election. 

“I just want there to be fair elections — there was a time when we couldn’t vote,” he said.

He also helped bring bus lines and adequate road and sidewalk infrastructure to predominantly Black areas in Carrboro. In addition, Braxton worked to diversify the Carrboro Police Department.

Braxton said he is most proud of his work to save Carr Mill Mall when it was due to close, as well his involvement in the construction of Anderson Community Park.

"I always say, you have to be in the community to know the community,” Braxton said.

Braxton also said he has spent over 40 years working with Camp Independence, a program devoted to serving children with kidney disease.

"A lot of [the children at the camp] are young, they’re afraid, they don’t know what’s ahead of them, so you just sit down and talk to them,” Braxton said.

He said he currently has no plans for Dec. 13 — which is his birthday — but is looking for ways to get involved with the community on that day.

“He’s just wherever he’s needed, and to lend his voice when necessary,” Barbara said.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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