COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The 82nd attorney general Eric Holder is resigning after heading the Justice Department for six years.
Columbus State University's political science department chair, Dr. Fred Gordon, said Holder made history as America's first African American attorney general and he will be remembered by many civil rights leaders for his work in civil and human rights.
"I think Mr. Holder is known for promoting equality and justice," Dr. Gordon said. "He did lot of work with LGBT rights, racial issues and he was respected by many civil rights leaders and democrats for that."
Holder announced Thursday he plans to leave his position by the end of this year.
"I think ultimately he carried a torch promoting equality and justice. It's a big challenge, but I think he made major efforts in that area," Dr. Gordon explained.
Holder served as attorney general since 2009, and the Department of Justice officials say Holder spoke about his resignation multiple times. His decision to resign was finalized over Labor Day weekend. Holder is one of the original Obama Cabinet members and one of the longest standing attorney generals in U.S. history.
"His resignation shouldn't be an ultimate surprise since he mentioned it a few times," Dr. Gordon said. "But at the same time it is a shocking decision. You have to understand that attorney general is a very powerful position. Resigning from the head position of the Justice Department will catch many people's attention."
However, Holder had received some negativity during his term. For example, Mexican drug cartels got their hands on guns that led to the death of an American agent during his operation "Fast and Furious."
"He had some controversies he had to deal with," Dr. Gordon said. "But I think many people will miss Holder for his civil rights work. He really made people understand the true application and meaning of equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and how vital and important it is to everybody."
White House officials say Holder has not made any specific plans on what he would do after his resignation. However, Holder did say he wanted to help rebuild trust and good relationship between minority communities and police after visiting Ferguson, Mo in August.