60 years later, historical marker commemorates 'Chapel Hill 9'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Feb. 28, 1960, nine African-American teenage boys held a sit-in at the Colonial Drug Store. Sixty years later, the actions of those nine boys are being commemorated along one of Chapel Hill's main roads.

The young men from Lincoln High School, Harold Foster, 18, William Cureton, 18, John Farrington, 17, Earl Geer, 16, David Mason Jr., 17, Clarence Merritt Jr. 17, James Merritt, 16, Clyde Douglas Perry, 17, and Albert Williams, 16, were denied service and were later arrested by police.

Their demonstration would go on to inspire a decade of civil disobedience within the town.

On Friday afternoon, Mason, Merrit, Perry and Williams, the four who survive from the group, gathered along with community members to see the unveiling of the plaque in front of the West End Wine Bar on Franklin Street, the site of the former Colonial Drug Store.

"It's unreal," said Williams, who also became the first black firefighter in the Chapel Hill Fire Department. "I'm just grateful to be a part of changes, and it seemed like that's kind of been my lot all my life."

The plaque is decorated with the names of the "Chapel Hill Nine" and plastered with the initial article documented in the Chapel Hill News.
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