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Louis O'Neil Dore

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.

Accession Number

A2007.038

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

1/31/2007

Last Name

Dore

Maker Category
Middle Name

O'Neil

Occupation
Schools

Morehouse College

Clark Atlanta University

University of Georgia School of Law

Robert Smalls School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Louis

Birth City, State, Country

Beaufort

HM ID

DOR04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/14/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hilton Head Island

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Trial lawyer Louis O'Neil Dore (1945 - ) was the first African American attorney to make senior partner in a white law firm, and was the only African American plaintiff trial lawyer in Jasper County, South Carolina.

Employment

Moss, Bailey, Dore and Kuhn

Dore Law Firm

Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.

St. Helena High School

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Louis O'Neil Dore's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Louis O'Neil Dore lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Louis O'Neil Dore talks about his mother's education and siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his early religious experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Louis O'Neil Dore talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his maternal great-grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his maternal great-grandparents' land

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Louis O'Neil Dore lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his earliest memories of school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Louis O'Neil Dore remembers the Robert Smalls School in Beaufort, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his mentors at the Robert Smalls School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes the community of Burton, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Louis O'Neil Dore talks about his family's work ethic

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his siblings' education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Louis O'Neil Dore remembers the influence of his older brother

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Louis O'Neil Dore recalls his arrival at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Louis O'Neil Dore remembers his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Louis O'Neil Dore talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his experiences at Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Louis O'Neil Dore remembers teaching in Beaufort County, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Louis O'Neil Dore remembers the Vietnam War draft

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his decision to attend law school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Louis O'Neil Dore talks about Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Louis O'Neil Dore recalls his experiences of racial discrimination in law school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his challenges at the University of Georgia School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his influences as an attorney

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Louis O'Neil Dore remembers Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his activism in Beaufort County, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his transition to private law practice

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Louis O'Neil Dore recall serving as a trial lawyer in Beaufort, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his legal casework

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his involvement in the Operation Jackpot trials

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Louis O'Neil Dore recalls opening a law practice with his sons

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his organizational involvement, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his organizational involvement, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Louis O'Neil Dore talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Louis O'Neil Dore reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Louis O'Neil Dore shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Louis O'Neil Dore describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Louis O'Neil Dore narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
Louis O'Neil Dore talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Louis O'Neil Dore remembers Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.
Transcript
What are your thoughts about King's [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] March on Washington?$$Oh, it was just overwhelming. Martin Luther King is one of the greatest persons in my life. I idolize him. For me he is, he is like a prophet. And of course Dr. Mays [Benjamin Mays] was president while I was at Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] and his last year as president was the year that I graduated and Martin Luther King was the commencement speaker for my graduation. And, and so this was the first time that I was exposed to the likes of Dr. Benjamin Mays, Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior and at Morehouse we had a tradition of chapel.$$Yes.$$Chapel was a requirement. We could only miss three days from chapel a semester and it was from breakfast to chapel and from chapel to class. There was always some interesting speaker that we had for our chapel services. Dr. Mordecai Johnson, Dr. Howard Thurman, just outstanding people. One of the persons that influenced me greatly my, my, my new religious thinking from the old church was Reverend Lucius Tobin [Lucius M. Tobin] who was my religion professor at Morehouse. There were a lot of people that impacted my life. I was in the economics department and Dr. E.B. Williams, a native South Carolinian was chairman of the Department of Economics and there were just a lot of impressive, impressive people around. It was, it was just a great experience coming from, coming from Burton [South Carolina] (simultaneous)$$(Simultaneous) Who were some of your classmates--$So what happens after law school [University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia]? You graduate in or you finished (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I finished in '73 [1973] and excuse me, and I intended to come back to practice with Charles Washington who is the only black lawyer in Beaufort [South Carolina] at that time and we had talked a great deal about me returning to Beaufort and practicing law with him and after my second year in law school, he passed. And so that kind of went out, went out the, out the window. But I came back to Beaufort and I was recruited by Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. [sic. Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc., Ridgeland, South Carolina], which was a local nonprofit community health organization headed at that time by [HistoryMaker] Thomas Barnwell from Hilton Head [Hilton Head Island, South Carolina] and they hired me as their legal officer and we were doing a lot of different things quite differently back then. And I'm sure if you've ever had an opportunity to talk to Tom Barnwell he's told you about all the things that were being done at that time in, in '73 [1973]. We, we were an activist group and an activist organization taking water, potable water to a lot of communities that didn't have potable water and that meant drafting contracts and agreements and easements and deeds and so forth in order to effectuate these arrangements for local water companies that we started. I also moved into the area of grants writing for the agency. For example I wrote a grant to the Campaign for Human Development [Catholic Campaign for Human Development] which was a Catholic foundation or nonprofit and the catalog foundation and they jointly funded a community store in Daufuskie Island [South Carolina]. Daufuskie is an isolated island separated by the Calibogue sound from Hilton Head and most--all of the people there went mostly shopped in Savannah [Georgia] once a month and didn't have a local grocery store and I wrote a grant and got it funded--got a local grocery store basically funded for Daufuskie Island and made a lot of trips to Daufuskie to organize the local residents over there and was basically the, the legal officer for that organization. We also had a few small legal battles with the local hospital, Beaut Memorial [Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Beaufort, South Carolina] didn't wanna give black doctors privileges to practice at the hospital, staff privileges, but more particularly, that was a problem I guess more so in Jasper County [South Carolina]. Jasper County wanted nothing to do with black doctors in the little twenty-two bed hospital over there.