Charles Morgan Jr.

By the time I joined the American Civil Liberties Union board of directors in 1988, Charles Morgan Jr. had already departed, but his legacy there was larger than life. A native of Birmingham, Ala., the iconoclast, who died Jan. 8 at 78, fought the city's segregationist leaders in the early 1960s. His vigorous condemnation of the 1963 church bombing that killed four young black girls led to the loss of his law practice.

Following that, Morgan opened the ACLU's Atlanta-based Southern Regional Office, which continues today as one of the nation's foremost defenders of voting rights. He notably argued Reynolds v....