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The year 1968 was one of the most tumultuous, and consequential, in the history of our Republic. Auspiciously, 1968 also witnessed the launch in Boston of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Months before his assassination, in June 1963, President John F. Kennedy convened a meeting at the White House of two-hundred and forty-four of the nation’s leading lawyers to urge them to become involved in what had emerged as a moral and legal civil rights crisis—defiant southern governors blocking the entry of black students to state universities, sheriffs brutally putting down non-violent protests with howling police dogs and firehoses, bombings of black churches, and pitiless beatings of Freedom Riders. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law was formed in response, with the design of activating the pro bono resources of the private bar in the struggle for racial equality and justice.


Available at: This article will also be published in a forthcoming issue of the Massachusetts Law Review.