LL.M., Columbia University
J.D., University of Pennsylvania
B.A., Rutgers University

CHERYL E. AMANA-BURRIS is a Professor of Law at North Carolina Central University School of Law where she teaches Family Law and Property as well as seminars in Bioethics, AIDS and the Law and Children and the Law (on a rotating basis). She has served as senior consultant with the Law Offices of John L. Burris since 2002. She received her undergraduate education at Rutgers University. She received her juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and her Masters of Law (LLM) from Columbia University School of Law, Graduate Division, where she successfully completed the course work for the doctorate of jurisprudence (SJD).

Prior to coming to North Carolina Central University, she was a senior assistant to Willie L. Brown Jr., who at the time was Speaker of the California Assembly. She has served as a judicial law clerk and represented the City of Philadelphia as an Assistant City Solicitor.

Professor Amana-Burris has written and lectured in the field of reproductive rights. She has focused particularly on maternal-fetal conflict arguing for non-coercive and culturally sensitive intervention in the lives of pregnant women who are HIV positive or substance dependent. She has served as a member of several community boards including the Board for the Department of Social Services for Durham County, Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the Board for the Center for Child and Family Health-North Carolina (CCFH-NC). She has served as president of that Board. She is a co-founder of the Center which is a collaborative effort of North Carolina Central University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and which addresses child maltreatment. She is also the co-founder of Strivin’ and Thrivin’ a support program for young single parents at North Carolina Central. She and her husband, Attorney John Burris, have established an endowed trust that benefits the CCFH-NC as well as a student at NCCU who is/was an adolescent parent and is enrolled full time at the university.


Professor Amana-Burris has received a number of awards including being selected as a fellow for the sixth annual medical institute for law faculty at the Cleveland Clinic, and as an “Every Day Hero” and “Carolinian of the Week” by Fox News. She received the Torchbearer and Trailblazer award from the North Carolina Equity Women of Color Program; the North Carolina Human Relations and Governor’s Citizen of the Year Award for “Exemplary Service by an Individual in the Area of Human Rights” and the Woman of the Year Award from the Chapel Hill Women’s Center. She was selected to be the Charles B. Bretzfelder Constitutional Law Scholar at the Columbia University School of Law Graduate Division. Additionally, she has been featured in a video on Leading Women produced by the Southern Oral History Project.


Professor Amana-Burris was an adolescent parent and she has been active with that population in every community where she has lived. As mentioned above, she is married to renown civil rights attorney John L. Burris. Together they have nine children and ten grandchildren