Exhibit honoring trailblazing N.C. African American judges lands at Fayetteville State

Photo of first NC African American Judges banners at FSU Chesnutt Library

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. –  Campbell Law School’s traveling exhibit honoring the contributions of trailblazing African American judges in North Carolina has landed at Fayetteville State University for the month of February. 

The “First African Americans on the North Carolina Bench” features a timeline of the lives and achievements of each judge and justice from 1968-2006.  While today North Carolina has numerous African American judges, including the appointment of the first African American woman, Cheri Beasley, as Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court in 2019, there were no African Americans on the bench in the Old North State prior the late 1960s.   

“I commissioned this exhibit because I felt it was important to highlight these trailblazing individuals,” Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard explained. “I am proud of this curation and believe audiences around the state might benefit from learning about those who achieved great success against difficult odds.”  

The exhibit, which is made up of eight banners, can be found in FSU’s Chesnutt Library through March 1, 2022.   

“The Chesnutt Library is extremely grateful for the opportunity to showcase this amazing exhibit,” said Larry Treadwell IV, director of Library Services at FSU. “It is a corner stone of our Black History Month celebration. As an HBCU, this exhibition helps us celebrate important African American achievements, and hopefully it will serve as source of inspiration for our future leaders. Our students have already shown a keen interest in the banners. They are finding the rich life stories of these North Carolina judges to be remarkable and awe-inspiring.” 

The permanent installation was dedicated at Campbell Law in February 2019 as part of Black History Month. The banners have previously been on public display at the City of Raleigh Museum, Saint Augustine’s University and the Wake County Courthouse. After leaving Fayetteville, plans call for the exhibit to be on display in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.

“Our goal has been to have the banners travel around to different parts of ‘The Old North State’ to help broaden the exhibit’s reach,” Leonard added. “We are thrilled to have them on display at Fayetteville State University to help celebrate Black History Month.” 

The permanent exhibit was part of Campbell Law’s year-long 10/40 celebration in 2019 that marked both the 40th anniversary of the school’s first graduating class, and the 10th anniversary of its trailblazing move from Buies Creek to downtown Raleigh.


Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,500 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2021, Campbell Law celebrated 45 years of graduating legal leaders and a dozen years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City. 


Fayetteville State University dates back to 1867, when seven black men founded the Howard School for the purpose of educating black children. We are proud of being the second-oldest state supported institution in North Carolina. Though we have come a long way from the single academic building of our founding, we honor our history with our traditions, such as Convocation and the Pinning Ceremony when new students officially become members of the Bronco family. We continue to build on the proud tradition of excellence at FSU as we strive to stay on the forefront of innovation. Our students conduct cutting-edge research in state-of-the-art facilities; new programs like our certificate in Cyber Security seek to solve modern problems; and we prepare our students for success in a global economy through programs like Global Scholars, foreign language teaching assistants and study abroad.