Wayne Law celebrates life of Professor Emeritus Edward J. Littlejohn

DETROIT, MI — Over seventy Wayne Law alumni and friends gathered to celebrate the life and impact of Wayne Law Professor Emeritus Edward James Littlejohn on October 19, 2023 with a program and reception. Littlejohn passed away in June of the same year.

The event held in the Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium featured heartwarming remarks from Littlejohn’s close colleagues, alumni, and family, including Wayne Law Dean Richard Bierschbach, Former Mayor of the City of Detroit the Honorable Dennis W. Archer, Wayne Law Professor Peter J. Hammer,  Michigan State University Law School Dean and Foundation Professor Linda Greene, alumnus Fred Harring, and Professor Littlejohn’s grandson Brandon and son Victor Littlejohn. Preceding the remarks, brothers from his Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. conducted their Omega service for Littlejohn.  

Littlejohn’s impact and legacy will be forever engrained into Wayne Law’s history. Littlejohn received his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Wayne State University (1965) and graduated law school from the Detroit College of Law (now Michigan State University Law School) in 1970, alongside classmate Archer, who became a lifelong friend.

Littlejohn graduated at the top of his law school class and (unusually) was hired to join the law faculty upon graduation, beginning his academic career. He taught at Detroit College of Law (1970-72) and then Wayne State University Law School (1972-1996), being conferred the status of Emeritus Professor of Law (1996-2023).

Littlejohn was one of the leading experts on African-American legal history and a giant in the Detroit legal community. He played an instrumental role in the implementation of the Detroit Police Commission. He remained active in his academic pursuits well after assuming his emeritus status, recently co-authoring the award-winning book, No Equal Justice: The Legacy of Civil Rights Icon George W. Crockett, Jr., with Wayne Law Professor Peter J. Hammer.

“I learned so much from him both substantively and from how he approached life— with generosity, kindness, perspective, and strength,” Dean Bierschbach said. “For generations of Wayne Law students, he personified our school’s ideals and, from his spot at the podium, in his office, and through his teaching, writing, doing, and mentoring, embodied everything we want Wayne Law graduates to be.”  

Photos from the celebration can be viewed here.   


Contact: Jennifer Kennedy 

Phone: 313-577-4629 

Email: Jennifer.kennedy2@wayne.edu 

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