Wayne State University

Damon J. Keith Collection of African-American Legal History

Photo of Damon J. KeithThe Damon J. Keith Collection of African-American Legal History is the country’s first and only archive dedicated to the perpetual care of the papers, artifacts and memorabilia of African-American legal history.

The collection includes the papers of prominent African-American lawyers, judges, lawmakers and others whose work and service reflect a commitment to civil rights, including Judge Damon J. Keith, Dr. Arthur Johnson and Congressmen John Conyers. Established in 1993 through the vision of Professor Edward Littlejohn, the collection is a partnership between the Walter P. Reuther Library and the Wayne State University Law School. It is available for research by scholars, students and the general public.

In addition to preserving legal history, the collection supports lectures and research, provides educational teaching materials and partners with the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights to provide education about civil rights in Michigan and beyond.

The collection is also home to two exhibits, Marching Toward Justice and Saluting a Giant. Marching Toward Justice details the history of the 14th Amendment and its promise of equal protection under the law. Saluting a Giant tells the story of Judge Keith’s life in photographs, commemorating his courageous and insightful contributions to creating equal justice under the law. The Keith Center building houses an exhibit area featuring a digital, abridged version of Marching Toward Justice and memorabilia from Judge Keith’s life and work.

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