Charlotte, NC -- Lawmakers, activists and the community are reacting to the death of Julius Chambers, a famed civil rights attorney.
Chambers was a former president of North Carolina Central University and leader in the North Carolina NAACP. He played a major role in the Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education Supreme Court Case that led to busing for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools students.
Congressman Mel Watt had this to say about the death of his former senior law partner: "The history of our state will record that Julius Chambers did more to advance us toward the constitutional aspiration of 'justice and equality for all' than anyone else in North Carolina."
Watts also said in the release, "I extend my condolences to Julius' family and express deep sadness on behalf of my constituents and all of those who knew what he aspired to have our community and state be. We truly have lost a giant. We must continue to fight to move our community and state toward what he aspired to have them be."
Sen. Kay Hagan released this statement Sunday morning:
"Julius Chambers was a civil rights pioneer whose loss will be felt deeply in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina and the country. His remarkable career will have a lasting impact on our state - from his successful effort to integrate Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools to the young lawyers he mentored in his private practice to the students who learned they could change the world under his leadership and NC Central University. Julius Chambers faced adversity throughout his life, but he never let that deter him from his work to promote justice and equality. My thoughts and prayers are with the Chambers family and our extended North Carolina family at this difficult time."
And, the North Carolina NAACP had this to say in a release titled, "A Giant Has Fallen":
"The NC NAACP has over 24,000 members in over 100 Branches across the State. Julius Chambers, who died Friday night, must have represented hundreds of them, knew thousands of them, and changed the lives of all of them by his steadfast life of justice.
"Today the NC NAACP stops for a moment, after 13 Moral Mondays, with tens of thousands of people standing up for the Chambers' vision of black and white together, and over 930 of us arrested for exercising our constitutional rights that Atty. Chambers fought so hard to make real in his beloved North Carolina. We pick up Brother Chambers' strong spirit to speak soft but direct truths to the same regressive policies and their authors who are determined to take us back to the ugly past of segregation, deprivation and division of the 1950's. Our leader, friend, brother and mentor, Julius Chambers, fought his whole life against these ugly policies.
We can learn much from his low-key, but militant approach to the duty of our generation--to complete the work of dismantling the structural and psychological racism that grips our society. Let me review a few of the highlights of Atty. Chambers 76 years of struggle, with the hope that our branches and other enlightened people will take the time to learn more about this North Carolina giant."