NCCU Alumnus and Chancellor Emeritus Julius L. Chambers Honored with Post Office Naming

Posted December 10, 2020, 12:50PM

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) alumnus and Chancellor Emeritus Julius L. Chambers will have a Charlotte, N.C., post office named in his honor seven years after his death at age 76.

U.S. Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Ph.D., introduced the bill to rename the post office at 2505 Derita Ave. as the Julius L. Chambers Civil Rights Memorial Post Office.

“My state and our nation are undoubtedly better for the life of Julius L. Chambers,” Adams said in February when speaking on the bill.

Julius L. Chambers
Julius L. Chambers

Chambers was chancellor of NCCU for eight years ending in 2001. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from NCCU in 1958 and a juris doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1962.

In 1964, he established North Carolina’s first integrated law firm in Charlotte, which became a leading national advocate for civil, voting and workers’ rights. Chambers became widely known for his work as a lawyer and civil rights advocate, gaining fame for successfully arguing eight cases before the Supreme Court, including the 1971 case that led to the integration of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County schools.

From 1984-1993, he served as director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Chambers became the first alumnus to serve as NCCU’s chancellor in 1993. While serving in that role, he led efforts for significant expansion of the university’s scope and mission, including raising the university endowment from $1 million to more than $25 million.

He also elevated academic standards and set priorities for allotting NCCU’s share of the $3.1 billion University of North Carolina System bond issue that provided the major capital improvements at all state university campuses.

Under Chambers’ influence, NCCU was transformed into a mid-sized institution with a growing research presence, notably in the biomedical sciences. NCCU’s biomedical biotechnology research institute is also named in his honor.

After retirement from NCCU, the former chancellor returned to his law firm, now known as Ferguson Chambers & Sumter, P.A.

In 2008, the university honored Chambers with the title of chancellor emeritus. He died in 2013.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the legislation authorizing the post office naming on Nov. 18, 2020. The bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 3.

The legislation was Adams’ second bill to rename a US Post Office facility for a civil rights icon, joining a 2016 measure to recast the Center City Post Office in Winston-Salem, N.C., to honor poet Maya Angelou.

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