Arrow-right Camera


Civil Rights Leader Recovering

James Farmer, a civil rights leader who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in January, was recovering Friday after surgery to have a blood clot removed from his brain.

Farmer, 78, was in stable condition in the intensive care unit at Mary Washington Hospital, a spokeswoman said.

Farmer is the last surviving member of the “Big Four” civil rights leaders, along with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young and Roy Wilkins.

Farmer founded the Congress of Racial Equality, organized the nation’s first sit-in and launched an era of nonviolent protests for civil rights.

Farmer is blind and has had both legs amputated because of diabetes, but he remains active, teaching history at Mary Washington College.

In recent days, Farmer’s memory was clouded and he had trouble recalling events of the civil rights movement, said Gail Beale, a writer working with him on a new introduction for his autobiography, “Lay Bare the Heart.”