John Doar, 92, who as a top Justice Department civil rights lawyer in the 1960s fought to protect the rights of black voters and integrate universities in the South, died Tuesday.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his son, Burke Doar.

Mr. Doar was a Justice Department civil rights lawyer from 1960 to 1967, serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and rising to assistant attorney general in charge of the Civil Rights Division.

A self-described Lincoln Republican who worked for the federal government at the height of the civil rights movement, Mr. Doar challenged discriminatory policies in Southern states that curtailed minority access to the voting booth and state universities.

He escorted James Meredith onto the campus of the University of Mississippi in 1962, even as Gov. Ross Barnett and angry crowds sought to keep the school segregated.

Later, Mr. Doar was the lead prosecutor in the federal trial arising from the deaths of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner that inspired the 1988 film Mississippi Burning. - AP