Pioneering civil rights lawyer;
Born: October 6, 1936; Died: August 2, 2013.
Julius Chambers, who has died aged 76, was an American lawyer who was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the United States. In 1964 he opened a practice that helped shape some of the most significant advances in civil rights legislation although his fight against racism and discrimination often attracted the fury of his enemies. In the 1960s and early 70s, at the height of the struggle for black equality, his house and car were firebombed and his office burned to the ground.
In all, he took eight cases designed to challenge racial segregation before the US Supreme Court and won them all. His most famous was Swann versus Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education which forced schools to bus pupils across town in an attempt to end segregation. The aim of the case was to speed up the racial integration of schools in areas where little progress had been made since the 1950s.
He worked for most of his career in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was born in 1936. His father William owned a garage and general store, where his mother Matilda helped out. The young Julius attended an all-black high school and went on to study history at the University of Michigan and then law at the University of North Carolina.
After graduating, he set up his own practice in Charlotte and began taking on cases designed to challenge the segregation and discrimination that was still widespread in many parts of the US. By the 1970s, almost half of the practice's caseload concerned civil rights.
As well as the Swann case, he also sued to ensure that the yearly football game between high school students from North and South Carolina was integrated.
It was cases such as this, and others, that began to draw the wrath of opponents of civil rights. They began to target him and in 1965 his home and car were firebombed several times.
The practice he had built up was also burned down but Chambers remained calm. In 1984, he left his firm to join the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People as director of its legal defence and education fund in New York, returning to North Carolina in the 1990s as chancellor of the university.
He served in that post until 2001 when he returned to the law firm he founded. Geraldine Sumter, a partner in the firm, said Mr Chambers was not the first black lawyer to try to address the issues of equality but he had brought to the struggle a focused, determined attitude that things were going to change.
North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper called him a friend who set a courageous example of doing what is right, regardless of the cost.
He is survived by two children, three grandchildren and a brother. His wife, Vivian, died last year.
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.