CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill now has a permanent memorial to James Lewis Cates Jr. a Chapel Hill man killed in an act of racial violence more than 50 years ago.

The moment was decades in the making. Fifty-two years after Cates was killed on UNC’s campus, people walking by the student union will know his name and story.

It’s a walk that often haunted Cates’ cousin, Congresswoman-elect Valerie Foushee (D) when she was a UNC student in the 1970s.

“Walking across these bricks walking to and from the union, I was always reminded that this was indeed the place that my first cousin was killed for no reason,” she recalled.

Cates was 22 and living in Chapel Hill when he decided to attend a dance designed to improve race relations. Instead, he died in a racially motivated attack on Nov. 21, 1970.

“He was sharp; he was witty; he was a jokester. He was just the kind of person you just wanted to be around.” Foushee said. “I was 14 when he was murdered.”

In decades since Cates’ killing, Foushee says the family has searched for justice and acknowledgement of the crime.

She says she’s grateful the U.S. Department of Justice Department is investigating but added that recognizing the past is also needed to move forward.

She’s also thankful for UNC student leaders who helped make this memorial a reality

Julia Clark, president of the Black Student Movement, became emotional as she addressed the crowd for the memorial dedication.

“I want you to know, Mr. Cates,” she said, “Though hate may have taken your life, love has sustained your memory.”

“This is a good first step,” Foushee added. “And every journey begins with one single step.”