- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 30, 2004

Donald Hollowell, 87, civil rights lawyer

ATLANTA (AP) — Donald L. Hollowell, a civil rights lawyer who once helped free Martin Luther King from prison and worked to desegregate Atlanta’s public schools, died of heart failure Dec. 27. He was 87.

Mr. Hollowell, who also is credited for helping desegregate the University of Georgia (UGA), was honored by the city of Atlanta with a road named for him in 1998.

“He was a prince of a gentleman,” said Marvin Arrington, a Fulton County Superior Court judge who was once Mr. Hollowell’s law partner. “During the movement, in and around 1960 and 1961, when it was hot and heavy, he fought for civil rights, and he did it with a degree of professionalism.”

In the 1950s and ‘60s, Mr. Hollowell served as one of the lead lawyers in the desegregation of Atlanta schools. He represented King in 1960 after the civil rights leader was sent to Reidsville Prison on a DeKalb County traffic charge. He was an attorney for Charlayne Hunter (later Hunter-Gault) and Hamilton Holmes Jr. as they integrated UGA in 1961.

Mr. Hollowell’s firm worked to desegregate Augusta’s buses and Macon’s schools and won a landmark case requiring Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital to admit black doctors and dentists to its staff.

In 1966, Mr. Hollowell accepted an appointment from President Johnson as the first regional director of the new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which monitors workplace discrimination. He remained at the EEOC until 1985.

Born in Wichita, Kan., on Dec. 19, 1917, he was told by his janitor father at 18 that he had to quit school to help make ends meet.

He went straight to Fort Leavenworth and enlisted in the Army’s all-black 10th Cavalry, the regiment known as the Buffalo Soldiers in the Old West.

During his six years in the Army, he earned his high school diploma and, in 1941, enrolled in all-black Lane College in Jackson, Tenn., where he became the starting quarterback on the football team.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Mr. Hollowell re-enlisted and rose to the rank of captain while serving in Europe. He returned to Lane after the war and earned a degree. In 1951, he received his law degree from Loyola University in Chicago.

Mr. Hollowell is survived by his wife, Louise. His funeral is tomorrow at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

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