Portion of N. 3rd Street to recognize Retired Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council approved a resolution tonight to honor Wilmington-native civil rights activist Retired Major General Joseph McNeil by dedicating a section of North 3rd Street.

Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil Commemorative Way will be from Market to Davis Street.

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Dozens of family and friends came out to support the resolution.

McNeil graduated from Williston Senior High School in Wilmington, and is credited with helping spur the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina and beyond.

He staged a peaceful protest at a downtown Greensboro Woolworth Department store’s segregated lunch counter while attended North Carolina A&T State University by refusing to leave.



“He’s one of the Greensboro Four,” community volunteer Kenneth Chestnut said. “They really initiated the sit-in movement to integrate lunch counters and eating establishments around the country on February 1, 1960. He went on to have a distinguished military career. He became a Major General in the Air Force and also worked for the FAA. So he’s just done a lot over his lifetime.”

The resolution also asks the NCDOT to designate another portion of 3rd Street, from Market to Burnett Streets in honor of McNeil.

At the end of Tuesday night’s meeting, Mayor Bill Saffo signed the resolution.

The community hopes to hold a ceremony for McNeil in October.