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Education

Vance High May Be Renamed For Civil Rights Lawyer Julius Chambers

Julius Chambers.jpeg
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Civil rights lawyer Julius Chambers

Vance High School will be renamed Tuesday, possibly for civil rights lawyer Julius Chambers.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston announced in June that the district no longer considered it acceptable to have a school named for Zebulon Vance, a North Carolina governor who fought for the Confederacy.

"Vance owned slaves and as governor of North Carolina spoke out against and fought anti-discrimination laws and other protections for racial minorities," Winston said at the time. "His is not the example we want to project for our students, families and staff."

The three options that were presented to students and community members are Julius Chambers High, Queen City High and University City High.

Chambers, who died in 2013, played a crucial role in CMS history when he represented the plaintiffs in Swann vs. the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. He took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, winning a 1971 ruling that led to cross-town busing to help integrate schools.

CMS says almost 1,200 community members and 476 students rated the three options. Naming the school for Chambers got the highest rating from community members but the lowest from students, the district reports.

Top staff will bring a recommendation to the school board for a vote Tuesday night. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will stream live on Facebook and YouTube.