CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Julius Chambers, a Charlotte attorney and civil rights leader, passed away on Friday after months of failing health. Saturday, friends and colleagues spoke out about the man that dedicated his life to equality.
"I just love how he never gave up... His civil rights spirit was indomitable," says Kojo Nantambu, President of the NAACP, Charlotte Chapter.
Chambers started his one-person Charlotte law practice in 1964 and it later became the state's first-ever integrated law firm.
As an attorney, Nantambu says Chambers was unwavering in the ongoing fight against inequality in the community and in the courtroom.
Chambers spearheaded litigation of civil rights cases, including the historic Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education. The Swann case made crosstown busing mandatory and ultimately led to public school integration.
His efforts extended from the courtoom into the classrooms of North Carolina Central University where he served as chancellor from 1993 to 2001.
Andre Vann, a former student and current professor at NC Central University says Chambers will be remembered as a public servant who worked to break down racial, economic and social barriers.
Saturday, friends and followers of Chambers mourn the loss of a pioneer but they say, his legacy will never be forgotten.
"I have the deepest admiration and love for him and am really going to miss him," says Nantambu.
Congressman Mel Watt practiced law with Chambers and had this to say about his accomplishments: "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. I, and countless others who fight daily to make that aspiration a reality were inspired by his example, leadership and dedication."
The Ferguson Chamber Sumter Law Firm says Chambers' family has asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in his honor to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, North Carolina Central University or Winston Salem State University.