TOP US ANTI-RACISM LAWYER DIES

Charles Morgan Jnr, a leading civil rights lawyer who was often vilified and threatened by fellow whites during the turbulent 1960s in the United States South, died yesterday at his home in Florida. He was 78.

Charles Morgan Jnr, a leading civil rights lawyer who was often vilified and threatened by fellow whites during the turbulent 1960s in the United States South, died yesterday at his home in Florida. He was 78.

The cause was Alzheimer's disease.

Morgan is well-known for winning a landmark lawsuit that helped establish the so-called one-person-one-vote rule, giving black people more equitable representation in legislative districts.

Among his cases, Morgan sued to desegregate his alma mater, the University of Alabama, and forced a new election in Greene County that led to the election of six black candidates for local offices.

Morgan was a leader of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and fought three celebrated court cases involving Vietnam War protests.

He represented Muhammad Ali in his successful court fight to avoid being drafted.

He also led the ACLU effort to have President Richard Nixon impeached.

Morgan first came to public attention because of a speech that got him run out of his hometown, Birmingham, Alabama.

After the Ku Klux Klan bombed a black church and killed four black girls in 1963, he blamed Birmingham politicians, newspaper editors, church and business leaders who refused to take responsibility for the pervasive racial hatred in the city.

Charles Morgan was born on March 11 1930 in Cincinnati and reared in Birmingham.

He married Camille Walpole and they had one son.

Morgan moved into the campaign against the Vietnam War in 1967, when he represented Captain Howard Levy at his court-martial at Fort Jackson.

Levy had refused to teach medical aid to the Green Berets, saying they were "killers and murderers of women and children".

A military court sentenced him to three years in prison and he became a cause célèbre in the anti-war movement.

Morgan's best-known case was Muhammad Ali's. Citing his Islamic religious beliefs, Ali had claimed conscientious-objector status in refusing to be drafted and had been stripped of his heavyweight boxing title because of that stand.

After Ali was convicted of draft evasion in a lower court, Morgan and the ACLU took over an appeal of the case, which went to the Supreme Court.

It ruled in Ali's favour in 1971. - New York Times.

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