Meet our Neighbors

"A lot of times you have to just listen--and be a listener."

Mr. Robert Revels

Meet the people who built the stone walls that surround the University, led movements for fair labor and housing across Chapel Hill/Carrboro, and fought for the freedom of all Black Americans.


Charles Alston

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Chelsea Alston

Chelsea Alston was born and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a place where she has deep roots. In 2012, Chelsea graduated from Chapel Hill High School. Her family has lived here for generations, attending St. Joseph’s CME Church for as long as she can remember. She sees herself living in the…

Janie Alston

"I was raised in the church. On Sundays we went to Sunday school, church, church at night, every Sunday." - Janie Alston Janie Alston, great-granddaughter of Jerry Hargraves, has devoted her life to caring for others. Having grown up on Mitchell Lane during the era of segregation and Jim Crow, she…

Jerdene Alston

"We would always be singing at the time we were marching. We would just march and sing and that was it." - Jerdene Alston

Joe Alston

Joe, a long-time resident of Northside, is known for the care with which he maintains his yard and the way he looks out for elderly neighbors on Lindsay Street.

Lillian Alston

Freda Andrews

Since she was a child, Freda Andrews knew that she wanted to pursue a career in education. Her experiences at Northside Elementary, alongside her involvement in the Southern Freedom Movement, influenced her desire to carve out spaces to teach Black history and inspire her students to feel empowered…

Amanda Ashley

Amanda Ashley grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her mother was a home economics teacher, and so she grew up with a strong understanding of nutrition. In the summers, they would sometimes visit her grandmother who had a farm in Georgia, where they enjoyed fresh pecans, corn, and scuppernong…

Gwen Atwater

Gwen Atwater came to call Chapel Hill home after moving here with her husband, who had spent his childhood playing in these streets. She began teaching at Frank Porter Graham Elementary School in 1973, where she spent the next three decades engaging with bright, young minds. To this day, she is…

Henry Atwater

"I told them that the Orange County Training School was the only school that Black people had...I was the only one to kick when they built that train that went by the back of the school." - Henry Atwater

Isabel Atwater

Born in 1925, Isabel Atwater has near a century of lived experience in Orange County. A self-described “country girl,” she grew up raising animals and building gardens. Atwater remembers growing up in the Jim Crow South and finding strength in the Black community and the Black-owned businesses that…

James Atwater

James Atwater grew up on Church St. as one of five siblings. Before working for the hospital at the University of North Carolina, his mother was an insurance agent for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in Durham, the oldest and largest African American life insurance company in the…

Kathy Atwater

"There would not be a University if there had not been the Blacks in this community to help build the University." - Kathy Atwater Kathy Atwater is a native of Chapel Hill and has lived in the Northside Community all of her life. Having retired from the State of NC after 30 years of service, Kathy…

Dorcas Saunders

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Lewis Atwater

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