Shirley Fulton Death, Obituary – Shirley Fulton, who served as a judge for a long time in Mecklenburg County and was the first Black woman to gain a seat on a North Carolina Superior Court, passed away on Wednesday morning. Cancer of the gall bladder, which led to complications that ultimately led to death. Fulton, whose influence extended from the courthouse to a lengthy list of notable community activities over the course of decades, passed away at the age of 71.
The native of Kingstree, South Carolina, has held a variety of legal positions throughout her career, including those of an assistant district attorney for Mecklenburg County, a judge for the District Court, a judge for the Superior Court, and an academic law professor.
Following his retirement from the bench in 2002, Fulton immediately entered private practice. Despite this, she continued to devote a significant amount of her time and energy to very public community initiatives, such as the reform of the judicial system, public housing, and local schools.
She was a previous board chair for the Charlotte Housing Authority and served as president of the Queen City Congress, which is a coalition of neighborhoods located inside the central business district. In 2015, she donned her judicial robes once again to preside over a mock grand jury hearing in Raleigh. The purpose of the hearing was to consider “indicting” Republican legislators who had voted to block the expansion of Medicaid, the primary form of federal health assistance for families with low incomes.
She did this while wearing her judicial robes. Carla Archie, the current senior resident judge of the county and the first Black woman to serve in that post since Fulton, referred to Fulton as “an incredible diamond” for both the community and the court system. “She was an absolute gem,” Archie added. Her influence can be seen in so many people’s lives and in so many different organizations; she has left a tremendous mark.”
She held the position of Senior Resident Superior Court judge, the highest and most influential judgeship in the Mecklenburg courthouse, for a total of 14 years. Another first for Fulton, this time in North Carolina, as she became the state’s first Black woman to hold the position.