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Keith Collection announces donation of the Honorable John Feikens' papers and records

January 24, 2012

  Judge Feikens (left), Damon J. Keith and Judge Ralph Freeman swearing in Keith to District Court in October 1967.

DETROIT (Jan. 24, 2012) — The Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African American Legal History has announced the donation of the papers and records of the late Honorable John Feikens, former judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Judges Damon J. Keith and John Feikens served as the inaugural co-chairmen of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission from 1963 to 1966, demonstrating a shared commitment to civil rights and equal justice.

Before his death, Judge Feikens was adamant that his materials be given to the Keith Collection in view of his lifelong friendship with Keith. “Judge Feikens was a dear friend and a thoughtful and compassionate jurist who cared deeply about his community, the larger issues in society and the role judges could play in shaping society,” said Keith. “We are honored to have his papers as part of the Keith Collection.” 

Judge Feikens was appointed to the bench in 1970 and served as the chief judge of the Eastern District of Michigan from 1979 to 1986, at which point he took senior status.  He has been recognized for his integrity and willingness to stick up for the “little guy.” His materials include documents and artifacts relating to his time on the bench and will become available to scholars and researchers in the near future, after they are processed by Wayne State University’s Reuther Library, where they will be housed. 

The Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African American Legal History at Wayne State University Law School was created to record the history of African American lawyers and judges. The mission of the Keith Collection is to collect, preserve and provide resources pertaining to African American legal history, including the history of prominent African American lawyers, judges and lawmakers whose service to the community reflects an interest in and commitment to civil rights and social justice. The Keith Collection works in partnership with the Walter P. Reuther Library, a world-renowned archival repository, the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights and the Wayne State University Law School. For more information on the Keith Collection, visit http://keithcenter.wayne.edu/collection/index.php.

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