It's 2017. But the fight for justice and tolerance has never been abandoned, thanks to an Alabama-born lawyer who, when still in his boyhood, tells his story "as the son of a poor Alabama cotton farmer who witnessed grave injustices," against "my African American neighbors and was inspired to earn my law degree so that I could fight for the rights of those with no other champions."
In his autobiography, Morris Dees says: "I was honored when the American BarAssociation chose to publish my book as the first in a series about lawyer spursuing justice."
The aforesaid book, "A Lawyer's Journey," relates how the author worked on his cases that came to him "over the past 40 years,"as Dees considers how "blessed" he has been in carrying out his work with lawyers, investigators, and others "who have a real passion for justice."
The Center, founded in 1971, modestly described by Dees as having "brought tough challenges and unforgettable moments of triumph," was responsible for putting up the fight against the United Klans of America who were found"liable in the lynching death of a black teen."
"I'll never forget the day I stood with our staff in a Mobile, Alabama courtroom as an all-white jury found the aforementioned 'United Klans of America' liable.
"It was poetic justice when the group was forced to turn over the deed to its national headquarters to the victim's mother."
Dees recounts another experience in his fight against racial injustice.
"Equally memorable was the day I walked through the ashes of our building after it was firebombed by the Klan. Not a single employee quit because of that arson.Instead, we rebuilt and we grew stronger than ever.
"And there was the heartbreaking moment when I held my sobbing young daughter in 1984while Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and guards searched the woods around our home for armed intruders who were determined to stop our work for justice, equality and tolerance."
Standing out as one of the Center's humble pride is how it does not receive government funds and accepts 'no fees' from clients who have been recipients of assistance.
The Center is financially supported by those who are called the Friends of the Center; each supporter believes in the fight for justice and tolerance through pledging 'modest amounts' each month to cover legal and educational programs.
Interestingly, the Friends of the Center provide the financial security of the organization's cause.
The founder says how 'impossible' it is to predict how 'lengthy' or how 'costly,'their 'legal actions' will be.
Dees amplified his statement when he pointed out how one case the Center won, lasted more than 20 years.
The Center has a Teaching Tolerance staff dedicated to spreading the message of tolerance and changing the 'hearts of young people across the country.'
Awe-inspiring is learning about how the Center's lawyers and investigators have pledged to fight for justice in court, no matter how long the hours or how difficult and dangerous the work would entail.
In sum, the author's autobiography is a modest but significant contribution that led Dees to the front lines of the civil rights struggle and his ongoing crusade opposing hate groups.
In A Lawyer's Journey, it narrates how a courageous and often lonely journey of a skilled and described 'controversial trial lawyer,' does parallel the nation's struggle to ensure freedom and equality for its citizenry.