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Judge ruled on desegregation

September 23, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Barefoot Sanders, 83, a U.S. district judge who presided over more than two decades of litigation to desegregate Dallas schools, died Sunday of natural causes at his home, said Karen Mitchell, clerk for the Northern District of Texas.

Sanders, who served as a deputy attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson, was the district's senior judge. He was appointed by President Carter in 1979.

He took over the school desegregation case in 1981, presiding over it until its closure in 2003.

Sanders veered away from the idea of busing black children to white schools as a solution to segregation. Instead, he approved magnet schools that would offer good academic programs in minority neighborhoods and be attractive to all races.

Sanders was born Harold Barefoot Sanders Jr. in Dallas on Feb. 5, 1925. His middle name, which he used for much of his life, was the maiden name of his grandmother, Dennie Barefoot. He served in the Navy during World War II and earned his bachelor's and law degrees at the University of Texas after the war.

He served in the Texas House of Representatives in the 1950s and later ran unsuccessfully for Congress. In 1972, he lost the race for U.S. Senate to John Tower.

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