Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to rename Vance HS after iconic civil rights attorney

Board votes to rename Vance High School

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools have decided to rename Vance High School for an iconic civil rights attorney.

CMS has decided to rename the school as Julius L. Chambers High School.

In a CMS Board of Education meeting on Oct. 13, Superintendent Earnest Winston formally recommended the school be named after Julius L. Chambers. The superintendent says he is “extremely honored” to recommend the new name to the board.

Several board members also expressed excitement about the renaming.

Chambers, an African-American attorney born in North Carolina, “advocated tirelessly for civil rights, persevering in the face of personal threats,” according to Britannica.

He won all eight of the cases he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and was especially well known for winning Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in 1971.

The decision in that case desegregated Charlotte’s public schools and established the federal government’s power to intercede in cities that were resistant to programs that promoted integration.

CMS to name high school after iconic civil rights attorney Julius Chambers

A full biography for Chambers can be found below.

A few weeks ago, an online survey was sent out and posted via the renaming website, and results from that survey provided “scores” that showed a community and student response split.

CMS says there were 1,195 respondents from the community (identified as alumni, parents, faculty, friends, family, former faculty, parents of alumni, CMS employees, citizens, neighbors, taxpayers, community members others) and 476 student respondents.

Per CMS, the survey results were as followed;

Community scores:

  • Julius L. Chambers HS 76
  • University City HS 37
  • Queen City HS 35

Student scores:

  • University City HS 74
  • Queen City HS 62
  • Julius L Chambers HS 35

Zebulon Baird Vance, who died in 1894, was a North Carolina representative, governor, and senator during the American Civil War and Reconstruction eras. He was North Carolina governor, twice, was a Colonel in the Confederate Army and a slave owner.

During the Civil War, Vance sided with the Confederacy and organized his own company of troops. According to the University of North Carolina’s Museum of University History, Vance left the army in 1862 and served for the rest of the war as governor of North Carolina.

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