Few people in law enforcement played as key a role as John Doar in protecting civil liberties of African Americans.
A top civil rights lawyer for the Justice Department in the 1960s, Doar died Tuesday, the Associated Press reports .
He was 92 and had congestive heart failure in New York.
Doar served as a civil rights lawyer from 1960-67 and rose assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s Civil Rights Division.
One of Doar’s most memorable times was escorting James Meredith onto the campus of the University of Mississippi when the governor and angry crowd tried to maintain segregation at the school.
Doar also was the lead prosecutor in the successful case against white thugs who killed three civil rights workers.
“This was the first time that white persons were convicted for violent crimes against blacks in Mississippi. It was a historic verdict,” Doar said in a 2009 C-SPAN interview.
Attorney General Eric Holder described Doar in a statement as a “giant in the history of the rights movement” as well as “a personal hero and an embodiment of what it means to be a public servant.” President Barack Obama described him as “one of the bravest American lawyers of his or any era.”