Anita Earls is a civil rights attorney with 25 years of experience. Prior to founding the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, she was Director of Advocacy at the UNC Center for Civil Rights and Director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. In the Clinton Administration Ms. Earls was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she had responsibility for the Division’s Voting, Educational Opportunities, Disability Rights and Coordination and Review sections. For the first ten years of her career, Anita litigated civil rights cases as a partner with Ferguson, Stein, Wallas, Adkins, Gresham & Sumter in Charlotte, North Carolina. In private practice, her work involved voting rights, police misconduct, school desegregation, employment discrimination, public accommodations, disability rights and first amendment cases.
Currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences at Duke University, Anita has previously taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law and the UNC School of Law. She has also taught several undergraduate courses in the African and African-American Studies Department at Duke University. Anita was appointed by the Governor to the North Carolina State Board of Elections in 2009 and currently serves on the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission.