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Judge who oversaw Dallas schools' desegregation dies

DALLAS — U.S. District Judge Barefoot Sanders, who presided over more than two decades of litigation to desegregate Dallas schools, died Sunday. He was 83.

Sanders died at his home, said Karen Mitchell, U.S. district clerk for the Northern District of Texas.

Sanders, who served as a deputy attorney general during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, was senior district judge for the Northern District. He was appointed by President Carter in 1979.

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

Sanders’ positions sometimes made him the target of hostile phone calls and letters. He said the city was accustomed to segregation, and many whites were content with the status quo.

“It was, to some extent, hostile, but not to the extent of being violent,” Sanders said in January 2006 upon receiving the Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Award.