Interview with John Doar
QUESTION 56
INTERVIEWER:

OK, UM, STOP FOR A MOMENT WHILE I THINK ABOUT THIS IN, IN, IN TERMS OF SELMA IN '65, WHEN DID YOU ACTUALLY COME INTO SELMA?

John Doar:

I first went to Selma in the Spring of 1961. And uh, uh, it was the first case that uhwas brought under the voting rights act after President Kennedy was inaugurated. And when we got there, another Justice Department lawyer and myself, uh, there was uh, you know, there had been no outsiders in Selma at all. No law enforcement officials, no demonst-, no demonstrations, it was really back in the 17th century. And uh, we brought suit in, in, in Selma and in Dallas County and then shortly after the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee established a, uh, a headquarters there in Selma and started to work with the kids, so that by this, they were there, probably starting in ‘62, and we had lawsuits in ‘62 and ‘63 and ‘64 we were wrastling around with the local authorities all the time trying to get them to register people. Never being very successful, but then, it wasn't until Dr. King came to Selma in the December of 1965 that he was able to cause the country, the television, the newspapers to focus on the problem.