Dees, Morris, Jr.

Dees, Morris (Seligman), Jr.

(1936–  ) lawyer, activist; born in Shorter, Ala. While at the University of Alabama he founded Fuller & Dees Marketing Group, a nationwide specialty direct-market-sales publishing house (1960). One of the largest publishing houses in the South, and a pioneer in sex education books for children, it was sold to the Times Mirror Corporation (1969). Partner in the firm of Levin & Dees (1969–71), he became chief trial counsel of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, Ala., which he founded (1971) with Joseph J. Levin Jr., and Julian Bond. The center would become involved in wide-ranging lawsuits from the defense of Joan Little in North Carolina to the battle to integrate the Alabama State Troopers. Active as a fund raiser for the Democratic Party, he was national fund raising director for the "McGovern for President" campaign (1972), national finance chairman for the "Carter for President" campaign (1976), and national finance chairman for the "Kennedy for President" campaign (1980). He originated the idea of a Civil Rights Memorial that was dedicated in Montgomery, Ala. (1989) and concentrated on suing white supremacist groups (1990s). His autobiography, A Season for Justice (1991), was made into a television special (1992).