Yesterday I read that attorney Julius Chambers passed away on August 2, 2013 at the age of 76. I never had the privilege of meeting Mr. Chambers. I only knew him from afar – by the reputation he created in the way he practiced law.
I do not believe that life is random. I believe that each of us is put on this planet for a reason, and it is our job to figure out that reason. Mr. Chambers clearly figured out early in his life the reason he was put on this planet.
Mr. Chambers was born in Mount Gilead, North Carolina on October 6, 1936. Segregation was the law of the land in 1936. Certain unalienable Rights, endowed by our Creator – Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness – did not apply to Mr. Chambers on the day he was born. Mr. Chambers was born in America of African descent.
In my 1st Law & Ethics blog, I wrote
“The practice of law has a lot to offer those who are motivated by altruistic goals. There is no shortage of injustice and suffering around us. A law degree can be an effective tool to combat injustice and lessen suffering.”
Mr. Chambers was clearly motivated by altruistic goals. Mr. Chambers opened his law office in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1964. In his 1st year of law practice Mr. Chambers took on 35 school desegregation cases and 20 public accommodation discrimination cases. Mr. Chambers quickly became one of the most prominent civil rights attorneys in the United States.
I am quite certain that fame and fortune were not the goals Mr. Chambers was pursuing. As a famous civil rights attorney, Mr. Chambers’ Charlotte law office was set on fire, his home was bombed, and his car was torched.
We live in a complex world. On any given day it is easy to see the kindness and generosity that characterize Americans. Yet, if we chose to live with our eyes open we can also see incredible injustice, suffering and evil.
During his legal career Mr. Chambers argued 8 civil rights cases before the United States Supreme Court. He won all 8 cases. Unbelievable!
Mr. Chambers deeply believed in the words and principles of Thomas Jefferson. I have often wondered how many Americans today believe in the words and principles of Thomas Jefferson?
Today the United States is radically different from the way it was on October 6, 1936. Segregation is long gone and will never return. Our President is an African American.
I agree with Thomas Jefferson, that it is a self evident truth that all men are created equal, that everyone is endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. And, we must thank Julius Chambers for helping make this Truth a reality.