Robert Saloschin died earlier this week, at the age of 95. He was World War II veteran, a longtime attorney for the Justice Department, and the father of one of our colleagues at WBUR, Mary Ann Nichols.
At the Justice Department, Saloschin helped implement the Freedom of Information Act in the 1970s. In 2011, he told Here & Now's Robin Young about how he was also able to play a role in the civil rights struggle.
In 1961, the Justice Department was trying to formulate a response to a volatile situation. Civil rights activists or "freedom riders" were testing a Supreme Court decision to desegregate buses and bus terminals, and were encountering violent resistance in the South.
Saloschin suggested to Attorney General Robert Kennedy and his lead attorney Nicholas Katzenbach that they use a little-known law to compel the Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce desegregation.
"The Interstate Commerce Commission was shocked at being dragged into this violent racial dispute," Saloschin told Robin Young. "They thought they were just regulating the business angles of the bus business. But they gulped I guess and issued an order to the bus companies to stop segregating either in the buses or in the bus stations."
We remember Robert Saloschin by playing an excerpt of Robin Young's 2011 conversation. Saloschin also has a forthcoming book titled "Government of All the People."
- Robert Saloschin, longtime attorney for the Justice Department.
This segment aired on February 27, 2015.