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National Civil Rights Activist, Attorney and NPR Commentator to Speak in Detroit, Oct. 23

October 09, 2008


DETROIT (Oct. 6, 2008) – The Wayne State University Law School Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African-American Legal History will host The Fourth Biennial Lecture featuring prominent civil rights activist, attorney and NPR commentator Constance L. Rice. Rice will speak on “The 2008 Presidential Election, Race and the Future of Civil Rights.” Noted Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley will serve as MC of the event.

Sponsored by Comerica Bank, the Biennial Lecture will take place from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in the Law School’s Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008. A reception will precede the event at 6 p.m.

“We are proud to welcome Constance Rice to Wayne State University Law School for The Fourth Biennial Lecture,” said Dana Roach, Wayne Law Assistant Professor of Law (Clinical) and Director of the Damon J. Keith Collection. “She is a nationally acclaimed authority on civil rights law and will provide attendees with an insightful lecture.”

The Biennial Lecture is free and open to the public, and parking is available in Structure #1 across from the Law School, on Palmer Street (corner of Cass) for $3.50. For more information on the Biennial Lecture or the Keith Collection, contact the Keith Collection program manager, Robin Johnson at (313) 577-6530 or via email at rjohnson@wayne.edu.

Constance Rice
Constance Rice is co-director of The Advancement Project, which recently, along with the ACLU, filed a lawsuit against Michigan’s Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, challenging the voter purge program. Rice is also a civil rights lawyer known for successfully tackling problems of inequity and exclusion in unorthodox ways. She has received more than 60 major awards for her work in expanding opportunity and advancing multi-racial democracy. As a litigator, Rice has filed and won traditional class action civil rights cases redressing police misconduct, race and sex discrimination and unfair public policy in transportation, probation and public housing.

Rice and her colleagues have led campaigns and bond initiatives that transferred over $25 billion into systems that support the poor. In January of 2007, she released the highly regarded report, “A Call to Action: A Case for a Comprehensive Solution to L.A.’s Gang Violence Epidemic,” which was commissioned by the City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development.

Hallmarks of Rice’s work include solving problems, reducing conflict, turning opponents into allies, and winning. She graduated from Harvard College in 1978 and New York University School of Law in 1984. She also served as clerk for The Honorable Damon J. Keith, Senior Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and has earned a first-degree black belt in the Korean martial art Tae Kwon Do.

The Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African-American Legal History
The Damon J. Keith Collection, initiated by Professor Emeritus Edward J. Littlejohn, is dedicated to recording the history of African American lawyers and judges. Upon the founding contribution of papers and records by the Honorable Damon J. Keith, senior judge of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Keith Collection was firmly established. It has since taken a leading role in memorializing Judge Keith's commitment to freedom and justice for all.

A partnership between the Walter Reuther Archives and Wayne Law, the Keith Collection has already been designated as the repository for the papers and works of historical importance by many distinguished persons, including Kenneth Cockrel, Judge George Crockett and Steven Lighthill. It also includes a compiled oral history of the legendary fighter for justice, attorney Ernest Goodman.

The Keith Collection uses its endowment, now exceeding $2.1 million, to gather oral histories, support lectures and research, provide educational teaching materials and traveling exhibits, and generally assist in the preservation and popularization of the lessons learned during the course of the historic struggle of the African American people for democracy in the United States.

Wayne State University Law School
Wayne State University Law School has educated and served the Detroit metropolitan area since its inception as Detroit City Law School in 1927. Located at 471 West Palmer Street in Detroit’s re-energized historic cultural center, the Law School remains committed to student success and features modern lecture and court facilities, multi-media and distance learning classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium, and the Arthur Neef Law Library, which houses one of the nation’s 40 largest legal collections. Taught by an internationally recognized and expert faculty, Wayne State Law School students experience a high-quality legal education via a growing array of hands-on curricular offerings, five live-client clinics, and access to well over 100 internships with local and non-profit entities each year. Its 11,000 living alumni, who work in every state of the nation and more than a dozen foreign countries, are experts in their disciplines and include leading members of the local, national and international legal communities. For more information, visit www.law.wayne.edu.

Advocating for justice, serving the community, revitalizing Detroit and Michigan