In May 1961, Julius Chambers, a rising third-year law student at theUniversity of North Carolina School of Law, is named Editor-in-Chief of the North Carolina Law Review. Mr. Chambers, who will graduate first in his class the following year, is the first African-American student to receive such an honor. Mr. Chambers receives accolades from across the country, including from then United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
In June 1964, with the support of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), Julius Chambers opens his law practice in Charlotte, North Carolina. The same year, Samuel S. Mitchell becomes the first African-American judge in North Carolina.
In 1965, the United States Congress passes the Voting Rights Act.
On November 22, 1965, Julius Chambers’ home is fire bombed, along with the homes of three other African-American leaders in the Charlotte community: Kelly Alexander, Fred Alexander, and Dr. Reginald Hawkins (who in 1968 would become the first African-American to run for the Democratic nomination for Governor in North Carolina). The bombings come at a time of significant activity on the civil rights front in Charlotte: the Swann case, the election of Fred Alexander to the Charlotte City Council, and a suit brought by Mr. Chambers to integrate the Shrine Bowl football game (a high school all-star event played annually in Charlotte).
In 1968, Dr. Reginald Hawkins seeks the Democratic nomination for Governor of North Carolina. James Feguson is his campaign manager. The same year, Henry E. Frye is elected to the General Assembly. He is the first African-American elected to the state house of representatives in the twentieth century.
In 1969, District Judge James McMillan enters an order in the Swann case to end school segregation by any means necessary, including busing.