Man honored for defense of black voting rights

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

SELMA, AL - Inspirational songs followed stories and memories you'd only find in history books as civil rights era icons were honored at the National Voting Rights Museum as part of the second day of the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

One man--John Doar--a white attorney who worked for the U.S. Department of Justice came to Selma in the 1960s to represent African Americans who were denied the right to vote.

"We did it without fear or favor. We went right down the line as law enforcement officers," says Doar.

He says whites were allowed to vote simply because they were white.  But, even the most educated black person couldn't register--which was against the law.

"Since they were always on the right side because they were always seemed like we were helping them," adds Doar.

Doar says being inducted into the museum gives him too much credit for what he did during the civil rights' era, but folks at the museum say without him, they might never enjoy the freedoms they have today.

"You had to have attorneys and judges that would stand up and fight and there was pressure on that side," says Scott Muhammed who works at the National Voting Rights Museum.

When asked if he ever feared for his life, Doar said, "No.  I was careful."

Perhaps that courage alone earned him a spot in the museum, for his dedication to what was right--an unpopular position to take in Selma nearly a half century ago.

Others inducted into the museum include United States Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Anne Braden, Lucy Burns, Federal Judge U.W. Clemons, former four-term Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Berry, Lawrence Guyot, Robert Moses, Ruby Sales, and Colia L. Clark.

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