JUNE 28, 1942

Joyce and Dorie Ladner discuss their roles in the civil rights movement. Credit: Library of Congress

Dorie Ladner was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She and her sister, Joyce, became involved early with the civil rights movement, working with Medgar Evers, Vernon Dahmer, Clyde Kennard and others. 

She and her sister were kicked out of Jackson State University for their support of the Tougaloo Nine, who integrated the all-white library in downtown Jackson. They became even more active at Tougaloo College. They worked with the Freedom Riders, joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and helped with the 1963 March on Washington. 

Dorie escorted Fannie Lou Hamer to register to vote. Joyce pursued graduate school, earning a doctorate in sociology, becoming the first female president of Howard University. Dorie continued her civil rights work, participating in every major civil rights march through 1968. In Washington, D.C., she earned her master’s in social work, counseling emergency room patients, visiting schools and working with the Rape Crisis Center. 

The sisters were honored at the Kennedy Center, and Dorie received the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy Humanitarian Award. In 2014, she received an honorary doctorate from Tougaloo.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.