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Former ACLU head, a smart, compassionate man, will be missed | READER COMMENTARY

John C. Roemer III (Handout/Baltimore Sun)
John C. Roemer III (Handout/Baltimore Sun)

John Roemer was above all else sui generis in so many things. I first met and worked directly with him in the early 1970s when he was the executive director of the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (”John C. Roemer III, retired teacher and former head of American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, dies,” Jan. 18). In those years, I was a community organizer aligned with many organizations and people trying to improve the lot of Maryland’s less fortunate citizens. John so often took the lead in these efforts, but was above all so clearly evident was not only his intelligence, which was deep, but the strength of his dedication to resolve so many problems.

At a later time, when he had moved on to join the faculty and library staff at The Park School, he generously came to Towson University at my invitation to speak to my students about his experiences at the ACLU and before that at the Congress of Racial Equality. He told stories of how he literally faced danger to his life when he worked to resolve problems concerning civil liberties and desegregation.

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John Roemer was a great Marylander whose memory should be enshrined in the official histories of our state. Ave atque vale, John.

Jack Fruchtman, Baltimore

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