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Justice for all

Civil rights champion John Doar dies, age 92

John Doar, a former Justice Department lawyer who played a key role in many major civil rights struggles of the 1960s, passed away on Tuesday at age 92, The Associated Press reports.

Doar joined the Justice Department as a civil rights lawyer in 1960, during President Dwight Eisenhower's final year in office. He then stayed on during the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, during which time he was involved in such landmark events as the admission of African-American student James Meredith to the University of Mississippi; the securing of voting rights for black citizens in the South; and the prosecution of the murderers of three civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, whose killers included a local deputy county sheriff.

"This was the first time that white persons were convicted for violent crimes against blacks in Mississippi," Doar said in 2009. "It was a historic verdict."

"Time and time again, John put his life on the line to make real our country's promise of equal rights for all," said President Obama, in a statement issued Tuesday. "Without John's courage and perseverance, Michelle and I might not be where we are today, and our thoughts and prayers are with his children, his grandchildren, and all those who loved and admired him."