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Historical Biography

Deputy Attorney General: W. Ramsey Clark

Portrait of Deputy Attorney General W. Ramsey Clark
Clark, W. Ramsey
8th Deputy Attorney General, -

W. Ramsey Clark was the 8th Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He served as the Department’s second-ranking official from February 1965 to March 1967.

As Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Clark oversaw federal enforcement of the court order protecting the March 1965 Selma to Montgomery march, led the Presidential task force to Los Angeles following the August 1965 Watts rioting, and helped draft and guide passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

At the time of his nomination for the post of Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Clark was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Land and Natural Resources Division. He was appointed AAG by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 when only 33 years old. Mr. Clark led a series of noteworthy and sweeping initiatives in that Division: he strengthened pollution control enforcement; he facilitated a key settlement with California tribes, awarding $24 million for 64 million acres of land; and he directed innovative changes to the interstate apportionment of water in the western United States.

From 1951 to 1961, Mr. Clark was an associate and partner in the Texas law firm of Clark, Reed, & Clark. 

A native of Texas and the son of Thomas C. Clark (59th Attorney General of the United States), Mr. Clark served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1945 to 1946. He earned his B.A. degree from the University of Texas in 1949 and his M.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Chicago in 1950 and 1951, respectively.

Updated February 29, 2024