When the UNC Chapel Hill law school sought the second director of its Center for Civil Rights, it wanted somebody who could fill the enormous shoes of its first director: the late Julius Chambers, a civil rights attorney who had fought – and won – several landmark battles.
The job went to Ted Shaw, a Columbia University law professor who, like Chambers, had directed the NAACP Legal Defense Fund – the legal arm of the civil rights movement that was founded by Thurgood Marshall, who served as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Shaw also played a part in many of the biggest civil rights cases of his time, including North Carolina’s defense of its two black-majority congressional districts.
On Wednesday, Shaw will join Bryan Stevenson at a forum sponsored by the Charlotte Observer, Bank of America and the Levine Museum of the New South.
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In Chapel Hill, Shaw is the first Julius Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and directs the civil rights center, which has come under fire in recent months from Republican members of the UNC Board of Governors. To their charge that the center engages in advocacy, Shaw said that its mission is to train the next generation of civil rights lawyers and to represent constituencies who don’t have a voice.
“There’s a sad history … not only in North Carolina, but in this country and in this institution with respect to discrimination and race,” Shaw told the board. Tim Funk