CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Shirley L. Fulton, the first Black woman to serve as an Assistant District Attorney in Mecklenburg County, died this week.
The 71-year-old Fulton reportedly died Wednesday morning from gallbladder cancer complications. Fulton was a retired attorney and one of the founding partners of Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, with offices in Charlotte, Raleigh and Chapel Hill.
Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather’s office posted about Fulton’s death on Instagram, calling her “a giant.”
Fulton, a 1980 Duke University School of Law graduate, also earned degrees from Queens University and North Carolina A&T University. She came to Mecklenburg County as the county’s first Black prosecutor in 1982.
“Judge Fulton always emphasized an unyielding commitment to justice, equity, and fairness throughout her career. She earned the honor and respect of her colleagues, and she served as an aspirational role model and mentor for generations of young people, including for DA Spencer Merriweather,” the Instagram post stated.
In 1988, she became the the first Black woman to win a Superior Court seat in North Carolina.
According to The Charlotte Observer, the Kingstree, S.C. native also worked as a District Court judge, and a law professor.
Merriweather’s office said the district attorney met her 20 years ago as an intern in the DA’s office.
“We mourn her passing and extend blessings to her bereaved family, friends, and colleagues,” the social media post continued. “We are forever grateful for the indelible legacy she leaves behind for us all.”
Fulton’s firm stated that she served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Task Force, as Chair of the Board of Advisors for the Charlotte School of Law, and as President of the Mecklenburg County Bar.