Trial lawyer Louis O’Neil Dore was the fifth of nine children born to Emily and Hezekiah Dore. He was born on March 14, 1945 in Beaufort, South Carolina. In the 1950s, Dore’s father changed the family name to Dore from Doe because he felt that Doe was a common name for anonymous persons.
Dore attended Robert Smalls Elementary School and heard Benjamin E. Mays speak at an assembly there. In 1963, Dore graduated from high school and was accepted into Morehouse College. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the commencement speaker at his graduation in 1967. Dore obtained a teacher’s certificate from Georgia State College and his J.D. degree from the University of Georgia. He was one of only four African Americans in his law school class.
Dore worked tirelessly to help bring about changes in health and economic development in many areas of South Carolina, including Beauford, Hilton Head and Daufuskie Island. He worked with the Beauford-Jasper County Comprehensive Health Department as the legal officer, drafting contracts and deeds, writing grants, obtaining funds and petitioning for African American doctors to have the right to treat patients in local hospitals.
In 1980, Dore was the only African American plaintiff trial lawyer in Jasper County, South Carolina, and he became the first African American attorney to make senior partner in a white law firm. Dore became the managing partner of his own law firm in 1991. Both of his sons are attorneys in his firm.
Dore has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Penn School, Benedict College, and Beauford Memorial Hospital, and as a board member of the South Carolina State Board of Education.
Dore lives in Beauford, South Carolina with his wife, Vernita.
Dore was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2007.