WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Civil rights attorney Julius L. Chambers and nationally syndicated political columnist Molly Ivins are among four new members to join the national board of the Maya Angelou Research Center on Minority Health at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
Chambers’ law practice, the first racially integrated law firm in North Carolina history, joined forces with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. (LDF) to successfully litigate civil rights cases and help shape civil rights law by winning landmark United States Supreme Court rulings. His firm’s cases include Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971), the famous school busing decision, and Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971) and Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody (1974), two of the Supreme Court’s most significant Title VII employment discrimination decisions.
In 1984 Chambers became director-counsel of the LDF in New York, following in the footsteps of Thurgood Marshall and Jack Greenberg. There he served as the field marshal for 24 staff attorneys and approximately 400 cooperating attorneys around the nation. The LDF maintains an active caseload of more than 1,000 cases, covering such areas as education, voting rights, capital punishment, employment, housing and prisons.
He returned to North Carolina in 1993 to become chancellor of North Carolina Central University in Durham. Keeping a foot in the courtroom, in 1995, Chambers was one of three lawyers who argued Shaw v. Hunt (1995), the landmark legislative redistricting case, before the Supreme Court. In the most recent ruling of the case, Hunt v. Cromartie, the court sustained two congressional districts that have enabled North Carolina to elect its first black representatives since Reconstruction.
Chambers retired from N.C. Central and returned to private law practice in 2001 with the firm he started in 1967, now Ferguson Stein Chambers Adkins Gresham & Sumter, P.A. in Charlotte.
Born and raised in a small, rural community east of Charlotte, Chambers is a graduate of the law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he served as the first black editor of the school’s Law Review. Graduating first in his class in 1962, he entered Columbia University Law School and taught there while earning a master of law degree.
Ivins has written for many of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers including the New York Times, the Houston Chronicle, the Minneapolis Tribune the Dallas Times-Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She became an independent journalist in 2001 writing a nationally syndicated political column for Creators Syndicate.
She is the author of six best-selling books including, “Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America” and “Who Let the Dogs In? Incredible Political Animals I have Known.”
Ivins has received the William Allen White Award from the University of Kansas, the Smith Medal from Smith College and she was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2003 Ivins was the recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service, the Pringle Prize for Washington journalism from Columbia University, and the Eugene V. Debs Award in journalism. In 2004 she received the David Brower Award for journalism from the Sierra Club.
A native of Houston, Ivins is a graduate of Smith College. She attended Columbia University’s School of Journalism and studied for a year at the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris.
Other new board members include: Anna Cherie Epps, Ph.D., senior advisor to the president and dean emeritus at Meharry Medical College School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn. and, Carla Harris, managing director of Global Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley and chair of the Morgan Stanley Foundation, New York City.
A native of New Orleans, Epps received her bachelor’s degree in zoology from Howard University in 1951, a master’s in biology from Loyola University in 1959 and a doctorate in zoology from Howard in 1966. Epps was one of the first people in the country to become certified in the field of immunohematology a subsection of hematology concerned with immune or antigen-antibody reactions and with related changes in the blood. In 2003 the Association of American Medical Colleges awarded her the Herbert W. Nickens, M.D., Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to promoting justice in medical education and health care.
Harris received her bachelor’s in economics from Harvard University, with high honors and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School with second-year honors.
She was most recently named to Fortune magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America,” Black Enterprise magazine’s “Top 50 African Americans on Wall Street,” Essence magazine’s list of “The Top 50 Women Who are Shaping the World,” Ebony magazine’s list of “15 Corporate Women at the Top,” the Network Journal’s 2005 list of “25 Most Outstanding Women in Business,” and “Woman of the Year 2004” by the Harvard University Black Men’s Forum.
The Maya Angelou Research Center on Minority Health was established to close the gap in health, quality of life, and lifespan differences between minority populations and the general population.
The center’s focus includes advancing research on health issues affecting minorities, developing health care approaches based on research findings, promoting medical career development among underrepresented minorities, and providing outreach programs and national symposia to promote these objectives.
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Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,187 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.