John Dorsey Due, Jr., was born in Indiana, but adopted Florida as his home state in 1960, when he enrolled in Florida A&M Law School. He graduated in 1963, the same year he married jail-in leader Patricia Stephens. A self-proclaimed “freedom lawyer” and longtime community activist, Mr. Due worked as an attorney in Mississippi during Freedom Summer on behalf of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to monitor violence against civil rights workers. As an attorney for the Congress of Racial Equality, he helped pioneer the tactic of moving civil rights cases to federal court to avoid biased southern state courts. He also organized sanitation workers and other unions to fight poverty. In Miami, as a member of the Dade County Community Relations Board and the Community Action Agency, and as director of the Office of Black Affairs, Mr. Due’s work focused on welfare rights, quality education, immigration and community policing. He helped establish a national model for community policing in West Perrine with the NAACP and then state attorney Janet Reno. Mr. Due served as lead attorney in the long-running desegregation case against Dade County Public Schools. He also helped secure the release of 500 Haitian refugee children. Mr. Due has continued his community activism in Quincy and Tallahassee, Florida, with a focus on restorative justice and the elimination of mass prison incarceration.
John Dorsey Due, Jr.
Quincy, FL I 1934 - Present