Reflect on Process

From 2006-2009, Chapel Hill engaged in a process to name Peace and Justice Plaza, to design the marker, and to decide what names are engraved at the plaza. We encourage you to read through the documents and to reflect on what went well with this process and what the we might do differently this time.


  • February - A petition from community members came to Chapel Hill Town Council asking that the post office plaza on Franklin Street be renamed for three activists: Charlotte Adams, Joe Straley and Lucy Straley. The petition was referred to the Council Naming Committee. 
  • March -
    • From the notes of the March 9, 2006 Council Naming Committee meeting: "Committee members discussed giving the plaza a name (such as Freedom Plaza) and then placing plaques there to honor community members. Mayor Pro Tem Strom said the Council should gather input by appointing a committee to name the plaza, and then having the plaza dedicated in July. It was determined that those eligible for the honor must have lived in the community and had involvement in civil justice. Council Member Ward said there could be an annual community celebration for the dedication."
    • At the March 27 Town Council Meeting, Council members agreed to the concept of naming the post office plaza for an ideal and for honoring individuals who have made a difference in the community with Joe and Lucy Straley and Charlotte Adams as the first to be considered for this honor.
  • June - At the June 12 meeting, Town Council unanimously agreed to rename the post office plaza "Peace and Justice Plaza" at the June 12, 2006 meeting. The design of the marker to be placed in the plaza was referred to the Public Arts Commission and the Historic District Commission for review with a report due back to Council in October. 

A video clip from the March 27, 2006 Town Council meeting - Here Joe Herzenberg urges Council to learn about the why the plaza had become a place for the community to exercise their right of free speech and to honor the leaders of the local Civil Rights movement.


  • September - Council Naming Committee presents their formal recommendation to Town Council at the September 10 meeting. The recommendation includes the installation of a granite marker at the base of the flagpole engraved with the names of Joe Straley, Lucy Straley and Charlotte Adams. Additionally, the name "Peace and Justice Plaza" would be engraved along with this quote from Ben Franklin: "There was never a good war or a bad peace." 
Read the Naming Committee Report

Learn more about Joe Herzenberg


  • March - On behalf of the local chapter of the NAACP, president Fred Battle petitions the Council Naming Committee to include names of local African American activists in the first group honored at Peace and Justice Plaza. 
Read Fred Battle's letter

  • April - Council Naming Committee met with members of the local chapter of the NAACP, including Fred Battle, Eugene Farrar, and Nate Davis. The meeting "was convened to hear suggestions from NAACP representatives as to names of deserving local African Americans to be included on the marker in its initial installation." 
Read Naming Committee Report

  • May-June - Council Naming Committee recommends criteria for names to be added in the future at Peace and Justice Plaza. The Council adopts this criteria at the June 9 meeting.
Read Report and Council Resolutions


  • August - From a Town Press Release "On Friday, Aug. 28, the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, the Town of Chapel Hill and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP will jointly sponsor the first of two programs to honor nine local peace and justice leaders. An outdoor rally will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Peace and Justice Plaza outside the Post Office-Courthouse at 179 E. Franklin St. The program will include biographical tributes read by members of the community and remarks by Michelle Cotton Laws, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP. Following the program, there will be a reception inside the Post Office featuring light refreshments and an educational photo display."
Read the full press release

Reflect on the process

Answer any of the questions below to share your thoughts about how the Town did when creating Peace and Justice Plaza. Your responses may be included in a report to the Town.

    This form uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your data is processed.