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Official: Charlotte civil rights leader Julius Chambers dies

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A niece of Julius Chambers' law partner said Friday he died.

Chambers was a civil rights lawyer and former chancellor of North Carolina Central University.

In 1963, Chambers was the first legal intern in an exciting new program of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc.

In June 1964, Chambers opened his law practice in a coldwater walkup on East Trade Street in Charlotte. This one person law practice eventually became the first integrated law firm in North Carolina history.

Chambers and his founding partners, James E. Ferguson, II, and Adam Stein, working with lawyers of the LDF, successfully litigated civil rights cases and helped shape the contours of civil rights law by winning landmark United States Supreme Court rulings in such cases as Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971), (the famous school busing decision) and Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971) and Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody (1974) (two of the Supreme Court's most significant Title VII employment discrimination decisions).

In 1984, Chambers left the law firm to become director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York City.