Center for Civil Rights

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New Director Ted Shaw

Ted Shaw Appointed Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of UNC Center for Civil Rights.

Julius Chambers

Eminent civil rights attorney and Center for Civil Rights founder, the late Julius L. Chambers, at a conference in his honor.

Brunswick County

The Center for Civil Rights represents clients in a historically excluded African American community in an Equal Protection and Fair Housing claim against Brunswick County.

The State of Exclusion

This report documents the impacts of racial exclusion in communities across NC. The project focuses on housing, education, environmental justice, political exclusion and access to infrastructure.

Pitt County

Center attorneys and UNC Law students outside Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals after Center's oral arguments in Pitt County School Desegregation Case.

Halifax, NC: Press Conference

May 2012, Halifax, NC: Press Conference marking one-year anniversary of Center’s report, “Unless Our Children Begin to Work Together, The State of Education in Halifax County.”

The UNC Center for Civil Rights is committed to the advancement of civil rights and social justice, especially in the American South. It fosters empirical and analytical research, sponsors student inquiry and activities and convenes faculty, visiting scholars, policy advocates and practicing attorneys to confront legal and social issues of greatest concern to racial and ethnic minorities, to the poor and to other potential beneficiaries of civil rights advances. The Center's work focuses on education, housing and community development, economic justice and voting rights.


Leandro at 20

"Leandro at 20: Two Decades in Pursuit of a Sound Basic Education"

  • In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Leandro v. State, the UNC Center for Civil Rights and the UNC Education Law & Policy Society, Black Law Students Association, and National Lawyers Guild are sponsoring “Leandro at 20: Two Decades in Pursuit of a Sound Basic Education.” This half-day conference will feature individual presenters, two panels, lunch, and an opportunity for engaged discussion among participants.  The conference features presenters who have played an integral role in education in North Carolina over the last two decades, including June Atkinson, Jack Boger, Ann McColl, Howard Lee, and Bob Orr.  In addition, Professors Erika Wilson (UNC) and Derek Black (USC) will discuss future challenges for education in NC.

    Our hope is to engage law students, education advocates, school administrators, and community members in this exciting event. Registration is free but space is limited!

UNC Board of governors attack on the center

The UNC Board of Governors (BOG) is considering a proposal to prohibit the Center from engaging in litigation. The Center was founded to pursue a 3-pronged mission of 1) equipping future generations of attorneys with the skills to secure fair and equal opportunities for minority and low-income people; 2) leading in influencing public policies and develop innovative, effective, and sustainable programs that remove racial and economic inequalities; and 3) representing, educating, and advocating for minority and low-income people building their capacity to remove unfair racial and economic barriers and to improve their own communities. The Center's work recognizes the interrelatedness of these mission components, which each rely on the others.

The BOG has requested submissions from the Center and held a public forum. The Center's report and video of the forum can be viewed on the BOG website. The proposed litigation ban was approved by the Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs on July 13, 2017 in Asheville. Final action on the proposal could be taken at the September 8, 2017 BOG meeting.

The BOG members can be emailed at

the state of exclusion: orange County, NC

Following the 2013 State of Exclusion report, the UNC Center for Civil Rights released a series of county profiles, containing a more in-depth examination of exclusion and the legacy of racial segregation in the individual counties. The fifth in the series, Orange County, has been released. This report, the other county reports, and the statewide report, are all available at . In looking at environmental justice impacts, the report shows that the county’s non-white population disproportionately live in areas with close proximity to solid waste or other potentially polluting facilities. Orange County has a smaller exposure rate to solid waste facilities for its overall population (3.20% compared to 5.34% statewide), but a higher rate for super majority non-white census blocks (16.72% compared to 9.37%).

PASt Events:


On December 2, the Center hosted a national conference to discuss the future of civil rights advocacy in the aftermath of the fall 2016 elections. Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S Department of Justice delivered the keynote address, and Wade Henderson, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights gave closing remarks.  Other featured speakers included Sherrilyn Ifill (NAACP-LDF), Kristen Clarke (Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law), Tom Saenz (MALDEF), Sara Pratt (Relman, Dane & Colfax), Mechelle Dickerson (UT School of Law) and Robert Lawless (Illinois College of Law).  Video clips and a summary of the program and the discussion are coming soon.

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