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Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
 
Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice Monument
UNC (Chapel Hill)
View complete article and references at Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina at: https://docsouth.unc.edu/commland/monument/7
 
Description: A bronze statue standing 8 feet, 6 inches tall depicts Justice walking in his #22 Tar Heels uniform, carrying his helmet in his left hand. He has a peaceful, pleased expression on his face. Behind the statue is a wall with the text, "'22' Charlie 'Choo Choo' Justice" alongside four bronze plaques which list his accomplishments. Teammate Joe Neikirk, Charlie Loudermilk, and Hugh Morton are credited with proposing the monument.
 
Inscription:
Leftmost plaque: CHARLIE "CHOO CHOO" JUSTICE / WAS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING, / TALENTED AND BELOVED / PLAYERS IN THE HISTORY OF / CAROLINA ATHLETICS. HE WON / THE MAXWELL AWARD AS THE / NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR / IN 1948 AND WAS TWICE / RUNNER-UP FOR THE HEISMAN / TROPHY. HE WAS THE LEADER / OF TAR HEEL TEAMS THAT / ESTABLISHED THE MOST / DAZZLING ERA IN CAROLINA / FOOTBALL.
Next plaque from left: CHARLIE JUSTICE EARNED / RECOGNITION ON THE FIELD FOR / HIS EXICITING PLAY AND IN THE/ COMMUNITY FOR HIS PUBLIC / SERVICE. JUSTICE WAS NAMED / FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN IN / 1948 AND 1949, WAS TWO-TIME / SOUTHERN CONFERENCE PLAYER / OF THE YEAR AND WAS ELECTED/ TO THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND / NORTH CAROLINA SPORTS / HALL OF FAME.
Third plaque from left: "CHOO CHOO" JUSTICE AND HIS / TEAMMATES LED THE TAR HEELS / TO A 32-9-2- RECORD, THREE / BOWL GAMES AND TWO/ SOUTHERN CONFERENCE / CHAMPIONSHIPS FROM 1946-1949. / IN 1948, UNC WAS RANKED NO. 1 / IN THE NATION DURING THE / SEASON AND FINISHED THE YEAR / AT NO. 3, THE HIGHEST RANKING / IN SCHOOL HISTORY.
Rightmost plaque: "CHOO CHOO" WAS THE MOST / VALUABLE PLAYER IN 1950, / WHEN THE COLLEGE ALL-STARS / DEFEATED THE NFL CHAMPION / PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, 17-7. / PLAYING IN FRONT OF 88,885 / FANS, JUSTICE GAINED 133 / YARDS AND AVERAGED AN / ASTONISHING 14.8 YARDS PER / CARRY

 
Dedication date: 11/5/2004
 
Creator: Johnpaul Harris, Sculptor
 
Materials & Techniques: Bronze.
 
Sponsor: The costs of the monument were paid for by private donations.
 
Subject notes: Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice played football for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels from 1946 to 1949, after serving in the Navy during World War II. Justice was a star tailback and finished second for the Heisman Trophy in 1948 and 1949. In 1961, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. In 2001, UNC named a portion of the Kenan Football Center the Charlie Justice Hall of Honor.
 
Location: The sculpture is located by the west entrance of the Frank H. Kenan Football Center, near the Sonja Haynes Stone Center.
 
City: Chapel Hill
 
County: Orange
 
Subjects: Educational Institutions,Historic Sports Figures
 

Latitude: 
35.90733
Longitude: 
-79.04938
Subjects: 
Origin - location: 

Comments

The year 1970 is often given as the dedication date for the Charlie Justice Hall of Honor. That is incorrect, in fact the Frank Kenan Football Center, which houses the Hall of Honor, wasn’t built until 1997.

Here is a link that shows that construction date.
http://unchistory.web.unc.edu/prsp-record/frank-h-kenan-football-center/

I wrote a piece for the Hugh Morton web site, “A View to Hugh,” back in 2013 about the dedication. Here’s a portion of that post.

When Carolina met Duke for the 2001 game, the “Charlie Justice Era” players held one of their reunions. On Friday evening November 16, 2001, the “Golden Age” players gathered at the Kenan Football Center for a special ceremony. On that evening, the first-floor memorabilia room was dedicated and will be forever known as the “Charlie Justice Hall of Honor.” Among those involved were Head Football Coach John Bunting, UNC Chancellor James Moeser, Carolina Athletics Director Dick Baddour, world class photographer Hugh Morton, UNC letter winner Bob Cox (who helped organize the reunion), along with former players, Justice family members, friends and fans. “The Voice of the Tar Heels,” Woody Durham presided over the ceremony. Later that evening he would broadcast his 1000 basketball game on the Tar Heel Sports Network. Justice was there to officially cut the ribbon. “I tell the current players all the time that the foundation of this football program was laid in the 1940s when you guys came here and did what you did,” said Baddour. “We’re standing in the ‘Charlie Justice Hall of Honor.’ It doesn’t get any better than that.” The dedication ceremony was followed by a dinner in the Pope VIP Box at Kenan Stadium.

During halftime of the game on Saturday, Woody Durham came down from his broadcast position to emcee a special ceremony at the 50-yard line. Leaders of the four “Justice Era” teams were driven to midfield in special golf carts. Ralph Strayhorn, Co-Captain in 1946, Joe Wright, Co-Captain in 1947, Art Weiner, All-America in 1948, and Justice, All-America and Captain in 1949. The team members presented Baddour with a check in the amount of one million, three hundred thousand dollars for the “Justice Era Endowment Fund.” The players were then introduced to a standing-ovation from the Kenan crowd. In introducing Justice, Durham simply said, “He was the best.” Charlie then stepped forward and raised his right hand, which was half-closed due his crippling arthritis.

I was there that night in 2001.

Jack Hilliard, UNC Class of 1963
Producer/Director WFMY Television in Greensboro, 1963-2005

Dear Jack,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and especially for taking the time to share so much fabulous information with us and your own connection to this history.  And I especially appreciate you taking the time to let us know about the error in the dedication date.

I have made the update in the NCpedia page. This content comes to us from Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina at UNC-Chapel Hill, and I have also let them know about the change.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions or if you have additional comments.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library
 

The correct date for the "Charlie Justice Hall of Honor" is November 16, 2001.

Dear Mr. Hilliard,

Thank you for your email. Could you share with us the documentation in which you found that information? The year we provide here (1970) was listed on the National Football Foundation site (https://footballfoundation.org/hof.aspx?hof=1692). We would be happy to correct our information if it is wrong.

Thank you.

Mike Millner, NC Government & Heritage Library

My wife, from Salisbury NC, based on newsreels of the day and comments from her parents and their friends, thought he was the President of the United States!!! I remember the newreels at the movie theatres, always showing something he had done. I thought tar heels, or really black on the feet was an inherited trait of people from North Carolina!!!!

My dad, James Stratton Knight, Jr., played against Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice. He was attending Riverside Military Academy at the time.

Dear Mr. Knight,
Thank you for sharing this information! It would be interesting to hear your father's memories of playing against the soon-to-be-legend.

Mike Millner, NC Government & Heritage Library

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