Benjamin Franklin Chavis, Jr, was born on January 22, 1948, in Oxford, North Carolina. Chavis's parents were educators who taught at a school for African American orphans. Chavis’s activism was in his bloodline; his grandfather, John Chavis, the first black graduate from Princeton University, set up an underground school for African Americans who were forbidden to learn to read and write. Chavis became active in civil rights at the young age of thirteen when he attempted to integrate the all white library in his hometown; although he was ultimately unable to check out any books, he was the first African American to obtain a library card and to attempt to borrow books. Chavis graduated from Mary Potter High School in 1965 where he was a member of the football team and editor of the...
CivicMakers have contributed substantially to their communities either by working for local governments, leading nonprofit organizations, or through activism and other forms of civic leadership and engagement. HistoryMakers in this category include civil rights activists, community volunteers, civil service workers, firefighters, social workers, and nonprofit leaders and emloyees, among many others.