Julius LeVonne Chambers, Charlotte
The bronze statue to Julius LeVonne Chambers is seven-feet tall and weighs 700 lbs. He is dressed in a business suit, wearing glasses, with briefcase in his proper left hand. He is striding forward in a pose that invokes confidence and purpose.
October 30, 2021
35.208320 , -80.836140 View in Geobrowse
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“Statue Honoring Civil Rights Leader Julius L. Chambers Unveiled Along Charlotte’s Trail of History,” WBTV, October 30, 2021, (accessed June 27, 2023) Link
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Trail of History Inc.
David Taylor, President and CEO of the Harvey G. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture said, “This statue memorializes Mr. Julius Chambers and the era of Civil Rights in Mecklenburg County that reshaped America. The sculptor Ed. Hamilton was also present at the dedication saying “I hope this statue provides proper context for the community, so children can aspire to achieve as he did and discover ways to help accomplish his goal of justice for all.”
Julius LeVonne Chambers was a prominent Civil Rights attorney whose desire to pursue a law career was fueled when his father’s auto repair business became a target of racial injustice in 1948 in his hometown of Mt. Gilead, NC. After earning an undergraduate degree from North Carolina Central University and then a law degree from Columbia University he served as an intern with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF). Then in 1964 he opened a law practice in Charlotte, which eventually became the first integrated law firm in North Carolina. This firm has been credited with influencing more landmark state and federal legislation in school desegregation, employment and voting rights than any firm in the country. This firm along with lawyers of the LDF won 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. They also won in two of the Supreme Court’s most important employment discrimination decisions, Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971) and Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody (1974). In total Chambers argued eight cases before the Supreme Court, winning all. Chambers' efforts did not go unnoticed by white supremacists. His car was destroyed with a bomb, his home was bombed and his Charlotte law office firebombed.
In 1984 he left his law firm to become director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In 1993 he returned to his alma mater, North Carolina Central University (NCCU), serving as chancellor until 2001. In 2002 Chambers became director of the UNC Center for Civil Rights in the University of North Carolina School of Law.
The statue is located on the Trail of History close to the main fountain at the intersection of Torrence Street and Kings Drive. This statue is one of 21 existing or planned statues along the trail, the first of which was The Spirit of Mecklenburg.
The Trail of History near uptown Charlotte follows the Little Sugar Creek greenway. The greenway runs four miles along the small stream lined with trees, shrubbery, flowering plants and places for seating.