Paul and Belinda Caldwell have made the Northside Neighborhood not only their place of residence for the last four decades, but they have found it to be the place they call their home. There is an African proverb that says, “it takes a village to raise a child” and for the Caldwell’s the Northside Neighborhood has been the village that helped to raise seven children while producing a desire to make a lasting impact on every individual that they encounter.
Paul Caldwell was born and raised in the Northside Neighborhood seventy-five years ago in a house on Rosemary Street. As a product of the Chapel Hill community, Paul attended Orange County Training School and graduated from Lincoln High School in 1959. Although Belinda Caldwell grew up in Pittsboro, NC, after graduating from Horton High School in 1968, she found her way to Chapel Hill, and forty years ago, she married Paul and made Chapel Hill and 600 Church Street her permanent residence.
Paul and Belinda are cornerstones of the Chapel Hill community. Paul (also affectionately known as “PacMan” or Mr. C.) became one of the first African-American Captain of the UNC Police Department, with over 25 years of service. Belinda (or Mrs. B.) had an extended service with the telecommunications department at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she would later become the supervisor and worked for nearly 30 years as well. Not only have they both worked in Chapel Hill for a large portion of their lives, they both actively give back and serve the community. Paul served on the Parks and Recreation Board for nearly eight years, and Belinda served on the Public Housing Board for almost three years.
In addition to serving the community on local boards and government, both Paul and Belinda are active members of the First Baptist Church located on Robeson Street, a church whose history dates back to well over 150 years, while yet remaining a staple in the community. Paul is a Trustee of the church, as well as the former president of the Usher’s Board, and serves as a member of the Men’s Club, the Anniversary Committee, and works with the Prison Ministry. Belinda, or rather Minister Belinda Caldwell, serves as an associate minister, and she too has served as the former president of the Usher’s Board, in addition to working with the Prison Ministry. Minister Belinda also serves on the Anniversary Committee, the Homecoming Committee, the Kitchen Committee, Women’s Ministry, Ladies Aide, and the Pastor’s Aide. Coupled with her work at the church, Belinda also volunteers at the Saint Joseph Heavenly Grocery Store and on the second Thursday of each month helps to prepare lunch for the shelter.
Very few neighborhoods can say that they have residents that have lived in the same home for well over 40 years, but Paul and Belinda Caldwell serve as living proof that communal longevity is still possible. They have a passion for helping people, and they have a desire to see their community and neighborhood continue to serve as a beacon of hope, compassion, and equality. Even after being retired for almost 20 years, Paul gives of his time as a crossing guard at the recently opened Northside Elementary School on the corner of Caldwell Street and Church Street. If you were to ask either of them what their most valuable treasures are, they would both tell you it’s their family and their community. The late Maya Angelou provided an illuminating conclusion that highlights the intent of Paul and Belinda’s life-long pursuit of helping others, when she said, “If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.”