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Location change: Wayne Law celebrates grand opening of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights

October 18, 2011

DETROIT (Oct. 18, 2011) — Wayne State University Law School is proud to celebrate the grand opening of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Due to predictions of inclement weather, the celebration program has been moved indoors to the Community Arts Auditorium, 450 Reuther Mall, Detroit.

The Keith Center honors the life and legacy of Judge Keith, civil rights icon, one of our country’s leading jurists and a 1956 Wayne Law alumnus. By developing programs and opportunities that promote his vision of equality and justice under the law for all people, the Keith Center will advance learning at Wayne Law, encourage community engagement, and promote civil rights in one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities in the United States.

“Judge Keith is truly an icon in the historic march toward equality and justice for all in this country,” said Professor Peter Hammer, director of the Keith Center. “We are fortunate to have his wisdom and experience to guide us. Through programs of scholarly legal study, community outreach, public interest law and public lectures by prominent civil rights leaders, the Keith Center will be a major contributor to civil rights education in Detroit and beyond.”

The two-story, 10,000-square-foot Keith Center building features classrooms, conference rooms, student organization space and a lecture hall. A focal point of the Keith Center is a new, interactive exhibit, Marching Toward Justice: The History of the Fourteenth Amendment, which will be unveiled prior to the grand opening ceremony.

The Keith Center has been graciously supported by a number of donations from prominent foundations and philanthropists in Metro Detroit and beyond, including A. Alfred Taubman, the Henry Ford II Fund, the Edsel B. Ford II Fund, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the DTE Energy Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

In 2009, the Law School moved forward on Keith Center programming initiatives thanks to more than $2.5 million in endowments. Since then, many exciting and thought-provoking programs have taken place including: RightsFest, a one-day, pan-ethnic civil rights film festival co-sponsored with the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights; and “Deconstructing the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” a symposium hosted by the Journal of Law in Society, the scholarly voice of the Keith Center. The Keith Center also has established the Michigan Allies Project to address hate crimes and incidents of intolerance, and the Post-9/11 Civil Rights Fellowship to encourage scholarship and discussion on these important questions.


On Sept. 8, the Keith Center presented the Fifth Biennial Keith Lecture featuring prominent actor, singer and humanitarian Harry Belafonte. Belafonte’s lecture, “Where We Are Headed,” was underwritten by Comerica Bank and sponsored by Health Alliance Plan, Consumers Energy Foundation, Lewis & Munday, and the Michigan Association for Justice.

A number of national and local dignitaries will participate in the Oct. 19 grand opening ceremony. Wayne Law students, alumni, staff and friends are encouraged to attend.

RSVP online at https://specialevents.wayne.edu/djkgrandopening or by phone to Special Events and Services at 313-577-0300. Parking is available in Structure #1 across from the Law School on Palmer Street.

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Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.

For more information on Wayne State University Law School, visit law.wayne.edu.
 

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