Black History in Carrboro

Black History Month
During Black History Month and year round, the Town of Carrboro observes the culture, heritage and indelible impact made by the Black community. We are proud to champion awareness in bringing representation, diversity, equity and inclusion. 
  1. Braxton Foushee
  2. Stanley Vickers
  3. Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten
Braxton Foushee 2019

Braxton Foushee has helped lay the foundation when it comes to equality here in Orange County -- it all began in 1960 when he sat down at Colonial Drug Store (then both a store and lunch counter) and requested to be served. Though Orange County has always been progressive for the South, this was a time when African Americans were not expected – or allowed – to dine in.

Foushee began serving his community and helped many local black people become registered voters.

Once elected as the first African American Alderman in Carrboro in a 6-1 victory, Foushee got right to work! His passion for his community helped save Carr Mill Mall when it threatened to close, and he played a vital role in getting Hank Anderson Park built. According to an interview in the Carrboro Citizen,

Foushee says his proudest moment was “bringing bus lines to Carrboro” at a time when many of the roads in black communities still didn’t have paved roads. Foushee worked to get repairs made to these roads, as well as having them paved.

Foushee’s community service includes being a lifelong member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, serving on the OWASA Board of Directors from 1986-88, and a volunteer for the National Kidney Foundation for North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama for over 30 years. He has been instrumental in the redevelopment of the Rogers Road neighborhood by advocating to bring water and sewer services to that community. Foushee continues his community service even today and currently serves on

Carrboro’s Truth Plaque Task Force – a plaque that memorializes the town’s varied history, including its founder Julian Carr and civil rights efforts in the town. His wife Barbara continues the family’s legacy of public service, as a current member of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.

The Town of Carrboro recognizes Braxton Foushee for his courage, sacrifices, and his continued effort to make Carrboro a more equitable place for all.

  1. Bob Drakeford
  2. Hilliard Caldwell
  3. The Garners
Robert Drakeford

The Town of Carrboro expresses its deepest sympathy following the death of Carrboro Mayor Robert “Bob” Drakeford (April 25, 1945 - May 16, 2022).

Mr. Drakeford made history as Carrboro’s first and only Black mayor, elected in 1977 and serving until 1983. Longtime residents remember him as the young activist mayor who was elected as part of the progressive Carrboro Coalition in the 1970s.

“Mayor Drakeford brought a planner’s sensibility and a forward-looking vision to a Carrboro that was ripe for both,” Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils said. “Many of his priorities, from expanding public transportation and improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to fostering a welcoming, inclusive community, are at the heart of what we in Carrboro continue to reach for today.

“I offer sincerest condolences to Mayor Drakeford’s family from the community he made a better place.”

Mayor Drakeford served as alderman from 1975 to 1977 before being elected as mayor in 1977. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s city and regional planning program, he was an advocate for public transit and cycling, and he developed valuable collaborations with other progressive Black mayors in the South during his tenure.

Mayor Drakeford held public office when the Council (then Board of Aldermen) hired Richard Knight as the town’s first Black town manager, employed from 1976-1980. And he served as mayor during the hiring of the Town’s first professional planner, who was Black. This decision helped set high standards that eventually made Carrboro more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. He also established a loan program to encourage business entrepreneurs, and created the Carrboro Community Park, later renamed the Hank Anderson Community Park. The biggest issue during his tenure was planning the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Bus System.

The Town of Carrboro will remember Mayor Drakeford for his service to the community, for his courage and dedication, and for laying the foundation for an inclusive community.

An obituary has been published at