A memoir from one of the country’s top civil rights lawyers—from his work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through his career at the ACLU.
This volume comprises Ralph J. Temple’s memoirs of his life and his work on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1956, Temple worked for Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund until he was drafted into the United States Army. A critical formative experience was Temple’s August 1964 trip to St. Augustine, Florida, with the New York City Lawyers Constitutional Defense Fund, where he worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others to ensure compliance with the newly enacted 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Finding his calling as a civil rights and civil liberties attorney, Temple rose to the position of Legal Director of the ACLU of the National Capital Area in Washington, DC, where he served from 1966–80. During his tenure there, he established himself in Washington as a lion ready to fight (and win) across a broad array of free speech issues. In 2008, the DC ACLU presented him with their annual Alan and Adrienne Barth Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service.
Temple kept up his legal activism and civic organizing in Oregon (where he relocated in 1996), until the day he passed away on August 27, 2011. On September 18, 2011, he was recognized by the ACLU Foundation of Oregon for his brilliant and tireless work on behalf of civil liberties.
“These legal war stories will give readers a realistic view of what a civil rights lawyer faced in championing unpopular causes.” —Publishers Weekly