Remembering Rolland O'Hare: 1925-2017

April 19, 2017
Photo: Detroit Walk to Freedom, June 23, 1963. Rolland O'Hare photographed far left with his young daughter on his shoulders.
 
A longtime advocate for civil rights and social justice, Rolland “Rollo” O’Hare was a consistent embodiment of the values of the ACLU.  
 
O’Hare fought for freedom, equality and justice both in the courtroom and in the streets. Throughout his lifetime O’Hare demonstrated an unwavering commitment to social justice.  He was foundational to the establishment and advancement of the ACLU of Michigan and its mission.  A tenacious leader and an innovative thinker, O’Hare was truly an asset to the ACLU. 
 
A native and lifelong resident of Detroit, O’Hare attended Wayne State University and later, Wayne State University Law School.  He was a trailblazer in the Michigan civil rights arena, serving as the first Chairman of the ACLU of Michigan.  As an attorney at Sachs Waldman, PC, O’Hare fought for the rights of the working class.  On numerous occasions he served as a cooperating attorney for the ACLU on both the national and local levels.   
 
O’Hare also took to the streets of Detroit to march with civil rights activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and labor leaders like Walter Reuther.  
 
“Rollo was not only a labor law genius who won countless victories for workers’ rights and unions, but he was a hardcore civil libertarian,” said Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan. “As a founder and leader of the ACLU of Michigan, he was a role model for me. I will miss his guidance, the twinkle in his eye when he told a joke, and his undying commitment to advancing the ideals of liberty and equality.”  
 
In addition to his leadership at the ACLU of Michigan, O’Hare was a long-serving member of the national board of the ACLU.  At the national level he served as Vice President and as Chairman on the Executive Committee.
 
In 2009, on the 50th anniversary of the ACLU of Michigan, O’Hare served as co-chair of the Annual Dinner.  As an integral part of our organization’s history,  O’Hare has earned our eternal gratitude for his exemplary leadership and passion for civil rights.