Wayne State University

About the building

Photo of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights Building

On Oct. 19, 2011, Wayne Law celebrated the grand opening of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

More than 600 people attended, and leaders from around the state were on hand to pay tribute to Judge Keith. Speakers included philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and writer Mitch Albom. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a video message with congratulations on the new building. 

The $6 million, 10,000-square-foot Keith Center houses meeting space, classroom space and a 60-person lecture hall. The center is used for teaching, research, conferences and meetings within and beyond the Wayne Law community. The lobby features a permanent version of the Marching Toward Justice exhibit, detailing the history of the 14th Amendment and the country’s ongoing journey toward equality.

The building is also home to art that highlights the African-American experience, including Lester Johnson’s A Garland of Praise Songs for Rosa Parks and one of Thomas Cornell’s limited-edition Bayard Rustin broadside.

"It is my hope that students entering the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne Law view the center as a way of committing to the struggle for freedom and as a means for ensuring that those four words etched on the United States Supreme Court – equal justice under law – be realized."

Hon. Damon J. Keith
Senior Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
LL.M., Wayne Law Class of 1956


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