Civil Rights

Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

The convictions of nine black men jailed for staging a sit-in at a Rock Hill, SC, segregated lunch counter in 1961 were overturned Wednesday. The men became known as the Friendship 9 because they were students at Friendship Junior College.


Today is the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the result of years of efforts and turbulence in America.  Freedom rides, sit-ins, and open racism in education and employment were commonplace. The success of the act was the bipartisan work of many now- iconic American figures, including two presidents. We’ll hear the dramatic details about the effort to ensure freedom for all.

Nearly all of us have filled out a job application that asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime.  Check the box yes, and you need to explain yourself. Well, that’s now a thing of the past for most potential city of Charlotte employees. City Manager Ron Carlee has decided to “ban the box.” We were joined this morning by the man who got this movement started in Charlotte a couple years ago. He’s Jason Huber, a law professor at the Charlotte School of Law, where he heads the school’s Civil Rights Clinic.


Flickr/Seth Sawyers / http://www.flickr.com/photos/sidewalk_flying/4267034867/sizes/l/

Union County is one of two North Carolina school districts accused of making it difficult for youth who are in the country illegally to enroll.  The Southern Poverty Law Center along with other groups filed the complaint with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. 


Part One: Soledad O'Brien on 'Black in America.' Soledad O'Brien is an award-winning journalist, documentarian and author. You may remember her as an anchor for CNN, she also does work for Al Jazeera, HBO and National Geographic. She is responsible for CNN's 'Black in America' documentary series, which is intended to be a conversation starter about race in America. Now she's taking that conversation on the road in the form of a town hall and she's bringing it to Charlotte. As a person of mixed race, with a black Afro-Cuban mother and white Australian father of Irish descent, she has faced complicated questions about race herself, on camera and off. She has often had to answer questions like, "what are you?" Ahead of her 'Black in America Town Hall' tonight at Knight Theatre, Soledad O'Brien joins us to share her story and discuss the challenging and often divisive issues of race, class, opportunity and social change.

By all accounts, Dr. Benjamin Chavis is a North Carolina legacy. The civil rights leader was not only on the forefront of civil rights protests in the state as a student at UNC Charlotte but he went on to serve in national leadership roles for the NAACP, the Million Man March and more. In 2010 a major feature film was made in North Carolina titled Blood Done Sign My Name. Dr. Chavis’ life and career was a focus of the film. Dr. Chavis returns to UNC Charlotte for a slate of events, including a screening of the film. He’ll share highlights of his career and discuss civil rights in our time.

On August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched to Washington DC to demand their civil rights. Among those activists were Charlotteans who sought justice. They were there to hear Dr. Martin Luther King deliver his 'I have a dream' speech. It would become one of the most famous speeches in American history. On this 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we visit with our own historic activists. They will relive those events of long ago and share with us their continued vision for civil rights in America, when Charlotte Talks

Lisa Miller

Charlotte commemorated a civil rights heavyweight Thursday.  Julius Chambers fought for equality through the courts and argued some of the cases that helped integrate this city’s schools and businesses. 

He had a lot of hatred directed at him as an African American challenging prejudice, but he never let that make him bitter. Instead, Chambers set up North Carolina’s first law firm to employ both black and white lawyers, partly to serve as an example of the integration he fought for.  He died last week.  His funeral was held Thursday.

Civil rights lawyer Julius Chambers dies at 76

Aug 4, 2013

Charlotte civil rights lawyer Julius Chambers has died at age 76. Chambers' law firm said he died Friday after months of declining health. In 1964, Chambers opened a law practice that became the state's first integrated law firm. He and his partners won cases that shaped civil rights law, including the Swann versus Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case on school busing.    Chambers argued eight cases before the US Supreme Court, winning all.

Bernard and Shirley Kinsey are more than just art collectors. They own one of the largest and most diverse private collections of African American artifacts and artwork in the world. Their wide-ranging collection examines 400 years of the African-American experience from nineteenth-century slave documents and an early copy of the Emancipation Proclamation to letters written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and works by artists Romare Bearden and Henry O. Tanner. Now, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Kinseys have brought their passion for art and history to Charlotte where their collection will be on exhibition at the Harvey B. Gantt Center. We'll talk with Bernard and Shirley Kinsey and their son Khalil about their collection, their philanthropic vision and what they hope new generations will learn from four centuries of African American art, history and culture, when Charlotte Talks.

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