Wayne Law civil rights center to host Damon Keith documentary screening

A free screening of the award-winning documentary “Walk with Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith” will be presented at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at Wayne State University Law School.

The film, to be shown in the law school’s Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium, 471 W. Palmer St., Detroit, documents the life of civil rights trailblazer Damon J. Keith, a 1956 graduate of the master of laws program at Wayne Law and a judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 1977. The film is directed by Jesse Nesser.

The screening, sponsored by Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Reserve a spot at rsvp.wayne.edu/walkwithme.

Following the screening will be a panel discussion featuring former Keith Clerks:

  • Monya Bunch Battle, adjunct professor, Howard University School of Law; University of Maryland
  • Jonathan J. C. Grey, assistant U. S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio
  • Jasmine B. Gonzales Rose, assistant professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Keith was born in Detroit in 1922, and served in the then-segregated U.S. Army during World War II. Prior to his appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals by President Jimmy Carter, Keith served on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and on the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

For half a century, Keith has defended the Constitution and helped communities enforce civil rights. His rulings have reshaped civil rights and set precedents for change across the country. Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights honors the judge and strives to carry on his work.

In the documentary, Keith, who grew up poor in a segregated world and once worked as a janitor, recounts the events that shaped his life and tells about his decisions on groundbreaking cases.

The screening is hosted in conjunction with a weekend of events celebrating Keith’s 50-year anniversary of serving on the federal bench. For more about those events, visit eply.com/DJK50th.

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