From David Erdman, a Charlotte lawyer and member of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, in response to Bid to rename court building for Chambers (Sept. 13):
The suggestion has been made that the Mecklenburg County Courthouse be re-named Julius Chambers Courthouse. As a Charlotte lawyer, I honor the name and memory of Julius Chambers as much as anyone. It is not, however, appropriate to name the Mecklenburg County Courthouse for any person.
The County Commission was wise when it decreed in 2009 that the courthouse would be known in perpetuity as the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. The reason is historical.
This year, we are celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mecklenburg County and soon we will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Charlotte.
The construction of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse at the intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets was the basis for the founding of Charlotte. The fact that the courthouse spawned the town, rather than the reverse, makes the Mecklenburg County Courthouse singularly important in history.
It was at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse that the resolves were read that further prodded the region into revolution against the British crown. It was at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse that the Battle of Charlotte was fought. The Mecklenburg County Courthouse was the site at which famed General Nathanael Greene took command of the patriot forces that humbled the British troops at Cowpens.
Julius Chambers was a great lawyer, and his memory should be preserved forever. His fame, however, arose in the federal court, not in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, which is a state court. There are many famous Charlotte lawyers, including N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Bobbitt and current N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker. No one has suggested that the Mecklenburg County Courthouse be renamed for even the greatest among them.
The effective advocacy by Julius Chambers in the federal courts led to the desegregation of Harding High School. Accordingly, a more appropriate honor would be to name the next new high school after Julius Chambers. Also Charlotte will eventually build a new federal courthouse. Federal courthouses are usually named for a person. The name of Julius Chambers should be reserved for that honor.
The famous historic name Mecklenburg County Courthouse which has survived through seven courthouse buildings for almost 250 years should be preserved.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less