The Making and Measure of a Judge: Biography of the Honorable Sammie Chess, Jr. is the definitive biography of North Carolina's first African American Superior Court Judge. It is a vivid historical journey of Chess's humble beginning on the dirt floor of a tenant dwelling, in the midst of the Great Depression, in rural South Carolina. Chess's journey continues through the Jim Crow era and the civil rights struggle as a civil rights attorney, and his rise to an outstanding Superior Court judge, Administrative Law judge, mentor and public servant. The book contains many lessons on how one should conduct themselves as lawyers and judges, and more importantly, many lessons on how to live one's life. When asked how he was able to rise above all he had experienced first-hand of the segregated south and set aside any personally biases he might have, without hesitation, Chess responded: "You treat people the way you want to be treated, not the way you are treated. I didn't let them set my standards. If a Klan member can bring you to his level, then you are not well rooted." Chess lived by a moral compass that lead him to dispense equal justice under law for all, irrespective of race or any other status in life. Undoubtedly, Chess reminds all of us of one of the greatest lessons one can learn in life: "With perseverance we can achieve."
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- Duke University Center for International and Global Studies