November 12, 2014

John Doar, a Trailblazer for Justice

Emory Law School, Freedom Riders, John Doar

The top attorney for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division John Doar during the turbulent early years of the 1960s, who died Tuesday, has been widely lauded across political lines for his trailblazing legal work to advance civil liberties. Doar was 92.

When he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, President Obama said Doar was the “face of the Justice Department in the South. He was proof that the federal government was listening.”

The New York Times’ Roy Reed described Doar as a lawyer “from northern Wisconsin who led the federal government’s on-the-ground efforts to dismantle segregation in the South ….”  

In 2010 Emory School of Law during a gathering focused on access to justice featured an evening with Doar, where for more than hour he described in detail his involvement in what he termed a “a revolutionary movement,” including his work to help protect the Freedom Riders in 1961. The discussion is available here or below. Doar’s comments start at the 7:12 mark.