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Julius Chambers

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Information about Julius Chambers

Profile image of Julius Chambers

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Yellow
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Don't Have A Heart Attack.

Birthplace

Born:
10/6/1936
Birth Location:
Mount Gilead, North Carolina

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Yellow
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Don't Have A Heart Attack.

Birthplace

Born:
10/6/1936
Birth Location:
Mount Gilead
See how Julius Chambers is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Born in Mount Gilead, North Carolina, in 1936, veteran civil rights lawyer, activist and educator Julius L. Chambers was influenced by the racial intolerance he saw growing up in a rural community east of Charlotte. After graduating from high school in 1954, he entered North Carolina Central University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in history and was president of the student body. He then attended the University of Michigan, earning an M.A. in history. Chambers began law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1959, where he became the first African American editor-in-chief of the school’s law review. Upon graduating in 1962, Chambers ranked first in his class of 100 students. He went on to earn his LL.M. from Columbia University Law School in 1964.

Chambers became the first intern with the new NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) in 1963. Subsequently, in June 1964, he opened his own practice in Charlotte, which eventually became the first integrated law firm in North Carolina. Together with his founding partners, James E. Ferguson II and Adam Stein, this firm is credited with influencing more landmark state and federal legislation in school desegregation, employment and voting rights than any other in the United States. Together with lawyers of the LDF, they helped shape civil rights law by winning benchmark United States Supreme Court rulings such as the famous decision of Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971), which led to federally mandated busing, helping integrate public schools across the country. Chambers and his team also won in two of the Supreme Court’s most monumental Title VII employment discrimination decisions, Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971) and Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody (1974).

In 1984, Chambers left his firm to become director-counsel of the LDF. Under Chambers' leadership, the organization fought for civil rights legislation and affirmative action programs that began in the 1970s and 1980s. Remaining devoted to education, however, he returned to his alma mater, North Carolina Central University, where he served as chancellor for eight years. Chambers published numerous books, teaches at various law schools, and was a member of many boards and organizations.

Chambers passed away on August 2, 2013 at age 76.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julius Chambers' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julius Chambers lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julius Chambers describes his family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julius Chambers describes his father's occupation
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julius Chambers describes race relations in Mt. Gilead, Montgomery County, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julius Chambers describes how his father obtained a concession to sell gasoline and oil in Montgomery County, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julius Chambers talks about his mother and siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Julius Chambers describes his childhood community of Montgomery County, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Julius Chambers describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Julius Chambers describes the role of baseball and softball in Montgomery County, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Julius Chambers describes his childhood interests and activities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Julius Chambers describes his experiences in school
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Julius Chambers talks about the teachers who influenced him as a youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Julius Chambers describes his extracurricular activities at Peabody High School in Montgomery County, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Julius Chambers describes the development of his personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julius Chambers talks about the history of North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julius Chambers compares North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during the 1950s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julius Chambers talks about the professors who influenced him at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julius Chambers describes why he attended the University of Michigan for graduate school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julius Chambers compares the University of Michigan and North Carolina Central University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julius Chambers describes racial tensions at the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julius Chambers describes anti-discrimination lawsuits against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina School of Law in the 1950s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Julius Chambers talks about North Carolina's reputation as a progressive state
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Julius Chambers talks about Henry P. Brandis, Jr., Dean of University of North Carolina School of Law from 1949-1964
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Julius Chambers describes his experiences attending the University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Julius Chambers talks about being drafted for service in the U.S. Navy Reserves
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Julius Chambers talks about accepting an internship with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julius Chambers describes how he met Thurgood Marshall and Jack Greenberg
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julius Chambers describes the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Julius Chambers describes the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Julius Chambers comments on the problems with the school busing system
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Julius Chambers talks about the cultural benefits of integrated schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Julius Chambers talks about "white flight" from integrated school systems
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Julius Chambers describes the Griggs v. Duke Power Co. case
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Julius Chambers describes the lawsuit the NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed against Moore's Barbecue in New Bern, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Julius Chambers talks about his car being bombed in 1964
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Julius Chambers describes the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's lawsuit against Durham County Schools
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Julius Chambers describes how legislation helped shape peoples' attitudes towards race
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Julius Chambers talks about cases that were meaningful during his career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Julius Chambers describes why he accepted a position as Chancellor of North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Julius Chambers describes being the Director-Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Julius Chambers talks about the University of North Carolina School of Law Center for Civil Rights in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Julius Chambers comments on the contemporary crisis of Civil Rights
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Julius Chambers talks about the George W. Bush Administration's failure to uphold the U.S. Constitution
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Julius Chambers reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Julius Chambers talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Julius Chambers talks about applying for a seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and running for public office
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Julius Chambers talks about contemporary Civil Rights law