John W. Douglas Who Headed Justice Dept. Civil Rights Division in 60s Dies at Age 88

justice dept. logoBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — John W. Douglas, an assistant U.S. attorney general who led the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division from 1963 to 1966, died Wednesday in the nation’s capital from complications from a stroke, the Washington Post reported. He was 88.

The paper reported that Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy designated him in 1963 to represent the government in the planning of the March on Washington on Aug. 28. It was there before some 250,000 people that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the powerful speech “I Have a Dream”.

Later, he went on to co-chair the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law that “sent dozens of volunteers into the South to take legal action against “in school” segregation of black children in newly integrated school systems,” the Post reported.

He eventually became a partner in the Washington-based law firm Covington & Burling,, the Post reported. He also became co-chairman of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and president of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Post reported.

From 1978 to 1986, he was chairman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and promoted arms control and disarmament, the Post reported. He also got involved in monitoring elections around the globe.

He was married for 62 years. His wife died in 2007. He has two adult children.

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