Remember
Civil Rights
Civil Rights Memorial Sites | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Julius Chambers Obituary

Julius Chambers (Associated Press)
Julius Chambers (Associated Press)
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — Julius Chambers, a Charlotte attorney whose practice was in the forefront of the civil rights movement in North Carolina, has died, his law firm said Saturday. He was 76.

A statement issued by his law firm, Ferguson Chambers & Sumter, said Chambers died Friday after months of declining health. A specific cause of death wasn't given.

"Mr. Chambers was not the first lawyer of color to try to address the issues of equality," firm partner Geraldine Sumter said Saturday. "He would tell you he had people like Buddy Malone of Durham that he looked to, the Kennedys out of Winston-Salem. The thing that Mr. Chambers brought to that struggle was a very focused, determined attitude that things were going to change."

The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP called Chambers "a man of tremendous courage."

"His home and his car were firebombed on separate occasions in 1965, and his office was burned to the ground in 1971, during the height of some of his most contentious civil rights litigation in North Carolina," the NAACP said in a statement.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper called Chambers "a friend who set a courageous example of doing what is right regardless of the cost."

In 1964, Chambers opened a law practice that became the state's first integrated law firm. He and his partners won cases that shaped civil rights law, including Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education regarding school busing.

The 1971 ruling in the case mandated crosstown busing and highlighted the power of federal courts to intervene when local public school systems hedged en route to full integration. The case came as then-Gov. Bob Scott had just taken office. Although Chambers won the case, Scott had already pledged that he wouldn't allow state money to be spent for busing.

"Chambers probably, being one of those lawyers rooted in the South, was able to see the inequities more clearly because they were so stark here in the late 60s and '70s," Sumter said.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Chambers took eight cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and won them all.

Born and raised in Mt. Gilead, Chambers was the third of four children. He came to what was known then as North Carolina College at Durham in 1954 and graduated summa cum laude in 1958. Chambers received a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Michigan and studied law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received the LLB degree with high honors in 1962 and was admitted to the North Carolina bar.

Chambers also served as chancellor of his alma mater, North Carolina Central University, from 1993 to 2001.


Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Read Full Obituary for Julius Chambers

Guest Book Highlights

If you need help finding the right words, view our Suggested Entries
 

Other obituaries

Published in Charlotte Observer from August 4 to August 9, 2013
By Dannye Romine Powell, Charlotte Observer Julius Chambers, a tenacious and unflappable civil rights lawyer whose cases led the way for public school integration in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, died on... Read Obituary
Published in Charlotte Observer from August 6 to August 7, 2013
Attorney Julius L. Chambers CHARLOTTE - Attorney Julius L. Chambers 76, passed away Friday, August 2, 2013. Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, August 8, 2013 at Friendship Missionary Baptist... Read Obituary

Search Memorials

- ADVERTISEMENT -

About This Site: Civil Rights Memorials

The Civil Rights Memorial Site includes obituaries and Guest Books from the Legacy.com network of newspaper and funeral home affiliates.

- ADVERTISEMENT -
- ADVERTISEMENT -