Morris Dees made up his mind. He would sell his company. He was a good
lawyer and there was no point to wasting that skill and trying to make
some more millions. He was already a self-made millionaire. Now, it
was time to shift gears. There were people in need black and white alike,
and someone needed to help them. There were few black lawyers out there
simply because the whites limited their education and prevented them
from getting such a position. And finding a white lawyer to handle cases
for blacks was like finding a needle in a haystack. Such lawyers were
usually those appointed by the court to defend the blacks. And those
lawyers really didn't give a damn. Someone needed to give and damn and
that someone is Morris Dees.
"I had made up my mind. I would sell the company as soon as possible
and specialize in civil rights law. All the things in my life that had
brought me to this point, all the pulls and tugs of my conscience, found
a singular peace. It did not matter what my neighbors would think, or
the judges, the bankers, or even my relatives. I only wished my daddy
had been alive to share my decision. "To everything there is a season."
For me, it was going to be a season for justice." (97)
Such a life changing decision and career switch is not easy. It's not
something one drops in one day and picks up the next. The year of 1968
was the year of "shifting gears." Morris spent 1968 trying to finish
the Above and Beyond series. While simultaneously taking on a civil
rights case to prevent Auburn University from building in Montgomery.
Alabama State was the all-black college in Montgomery that could have
used the money Auburn would be getting. By building Auburn, all the
white kids in the area would go to Auburn instead of Alabama state which
violated the "separate but equal doctrine." With some research, Morris
discovered that Auburn was recruiting white kids from local schools
all over Montgomery. When Morris asked the principals of the black schools,
he learned that Auburn had not been there to recruit. This deemed it
a violation of the separate but equal doctrine.