John Doar, a fearless Justice Department attorney who combated both segregation in the south and President Nixon’s Watergate, has passed away at the age of 92.
Reports The New York Times:
John Doar, a country lawyer from northern Wisconsin who led the federal government’s on-the-ground efforts to dismantle segregation in the South, and who later headed the team that made the case for impeaching President Richard M. Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal, died on Tuesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 92. The cause was congestive heart failure, his son Robert said.
During the most volatile period of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, it was Mr. Doar, along with a federal marshal, who escorted James Meredith when he integrated the University of Mississippi in 1962. It was Mr. Doar who led the successful prosecution of the men who killed three young civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964. And it was Mr. Doar who defused a dramatic standoff between bottle-throwing civil rights protesters and police officers with their guns drawn in Jackson, Miss.
Mr. Doar prosecuted some of the most notorious cases of murder and violence in the South in the ‘60s, and was instrumental in changing the region’s pattern of race-based politics based on voter discrimination.
Mr. Doar and the prosecution team drew on confessions and the testimony of paid informers who had infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. Seven people, including a Neshoba County deputy sheriff and the state head of the Klan, were convicted and sentenced to terms of three to 10 years each.
Doar also famously accompanied James Meredith when he braved the doors of the University of Mississippi in 1962 and was called “the face of the Justice Department in the South,” when awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2012.
Video of that distinguished honor can be found on the next page.
Photo: The White House