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Dorie Ladner

Dorie Ladner

American civil rights activist
Dorie Ladner
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American civil rights activist
A.K.A. Doris Ann Ladner, Dorie Churnet
Is Activist Social worker
From United States of America
Type Activism
Gender female
Birth 28 June 1942, Hattiesburg
Age: 78 years
The details


Dorie Ann Ladner (born 1942) is an American civil rights activist.

Early life

She was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on June 28, 1942.


In 1973, Ladner earned her B.A. degree from Tougaloo College, and in 1975, she earned a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from the Howard University School of Social Work.


She played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi ever since, as a high school student, she joined the NAACP Youth Council in Hattiesburg where she met NAACP state president Medgar Evers. In 1961, she became engaged with the Freedom Riders. She joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was arrested in 1962 trying to integrate the Woolworth lunch counter in downtown Jackson.

She was expelled from Jackson State University for her support of the Tougaloo Nine. She and her sister Joyce Ladner were invited to enroll at Tougaloo College.

Dorie was jailed for picketing in the 1962 Jackson, Mississippi boycotts:

Just before Christmas of 1962, after months of discussions and a false start the previous year, a vigorous boycott had finally been launched against downtown merchants in Jackson. Initially, young people carried the spirit of the movement. Dorie and Joyce Ladner were heavily involved. At a time when bail money was unpredictable and most Mississippi-born students were afraid of reprisals against their parents, Dorie was among the first to go to jail for picketing.

In 1964, she became a key organizer in the Freedom Summer Project. She became the first woman to head a COFO Council of Federated Organizations project in 1964. She served as the SNCC project director in Natchez, Mississippi (1964-1966).

Current work

She currently lives in Washington, D.C. where she is frequently invited to speak on panels and interviewed for documentary film projects. For example, in 2014 she was interviewed for the American Experience PBS documentary on Freedom Summer and she spoke on a panel with Stanley Nelson Jr. and Khalil Gibran Muhammad, hosted by New America (organization) in New York. In August 2017, Ladner was one of the panelists for a workshop called "SNCC: Civil Right Activism to DC Statehood" at the National Lawyers Guild 80th annual convention in Washington, D.C. along with Judy Richardson, Courtland Cox, Frank Smith (D.C. Council), and others.


  • May 18, 2014: Awarded an honorary doctorate from Tougaloo College.
  • 2016: "Well-Behaved Women Don’t Make ‘Her-Story’: The Dorie Ladner Story" documentary produced by Kendall Little.
  • June, 2017: Awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of the District of Columbia.


Year Title Role Notes
2017 Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Herself TV Series, February 15, 2017 episode: We're Still Not There: A Practical Guide to Resistance on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
2016 Well-Behaved Women Don’t Make ‘Her-Story’: The Dorie Ladner Story Herself Documentary by Kendall Little
2015 This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer Herself Documentary by Robin Hamilton
2013 An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Herself Documentary by Loki Mulholland
2009 Soundtrack for a Revolution Herself Documentary by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman
2003 Standing On My Sisters’ Shoulders Herself Documentary by Laura Lipson
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