Plaza Named for Activist Phil Carter


Lucy Bell, Student Reporter

After 60 years of fighting for community change in Huntington, one of the city’s most influential civil rights activists has a plaza named after him.

Professor Philip W. Carter Jr. was honored at an unveiling ceremony by the city of Huntington that named the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street the “Phil Carter Plaza” on Friday afternoon, Oct. 28. Along with Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, Carter unveiled the street sign that now displays the plaza’s new name. 

Having Carter’s efforts officially recognized by the city allows new generations to appreciate the years of service and the change he ignited, according to one of the event’s speakers Dr. Kelli Johnson.

“It’s hard for young people or people who are not originally from here to understand what it was like back then,” Johnson said. “Huntington wasn’t a bad place to be, but it wasn’t the best place to be. Because of Professor Carter and other members of civic interest progressives, they opened the city up so that it is a place that welcomes people of color and people who are different than the majority.” 

By the city bestowing this honor to Carter, the city acknowledged its history as well as its commitment to share his legacy, Johnson added.

“Phil has gotten accolades in many places,” she said. “But it is a big deal when the city says, ‘Thank you for what you did for us and we are going to make it permanent so that people know.’ I was so honored to be involved.”

Along with exhibiting the new street sign, the mayor revealed plans for an archway displaying the plaza’s new name to the crowd as part of the city’s efforts to boost infrastructure and safety by redesigning parts of downtown Huntington.