Resource: Henry Hampton Collection: John Doar

By: John Doar, Henry Hampton Collection

November 15, 1985

Henry Hampton Collection: Washington University in St. Louis

This interview was done for Henry Hampton's Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years (1954-1965). Doar served as an attorney and as Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division from 1960-1967. John Doar received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and earned a J.D. from Boalt Hall in Berkeley. While at the Justice Department, Doar investigated segregation in the South and brought suits for violations of the 1957 Civil Rights Act. In early 1961, he began investigating voter discrimination in southwest Mississippi. During that investigation he also assisted James Meredith as he enrolled in the University of Mississippi in September of 1962; Doar arranged for Meredith to be registered despite riots at the school and a confrontation with the governor, and stayed with Meredith for the first few weeks of classes. In 1964, Doar worked with the F.B.I. to uncover the details of the murder of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman during Freedom Summer. He led the suit that convicted several people for violating the civil rights of the three civil rights workers. One of his most famous actions occurred after the death of Medgar Evers when he stepped between a violent crowd and an armed group of police officers, and convinced the crowd to disperse peacefully. Doar later served as Special Counsel to the House of Representatives. He is currently the senior partner in a private law firm in New York.;cc=eop;rgn=main;view=text;idno=doa0015.0543.028