Detroit's Farewells to Judge Damon Keith Start This Morning at the Wright Museum

May 09, 2019, 11:53 PM

This update of an April 30 article adds new details.

American and state flags will fly at half-staff Monday in tribute to Damon Jerome Keith, a 96-year-old federal judge from Detroit who'll be buried that day.

"Michigan recognizes the duty, honor and selfless service of Judge Damon Keith by lowering flags" at the Capitol and all state government buildings, says a statement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who calls him "a civil rights icon." Her proclamation adds:

"In his decades of public service, he stood up for what was right, even if it meant facing attacks and threats from others. Because of his strength, his determination and his commitment to ending racism in our country, Michigan is grateful and better for it.

"We should honor Judge Keith's legacy by working together to build a Michigan where everybody, no matter who they are or where they came from, can get ahead."

Keith, a Detroit native who served for 18 years on Detroit's federal court and then 24 years on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, died April 28 in Detroit.

An outpouring of respect comes Saturday during 12 hours of public viewing at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Visitation there is an honor also given to former Mayor Coleman A. Young, who lay in state there for two days in December 1997, to Rosa Parks in November 2005 and to Aretha Franklin last August.

Damon Jerome Keith
July 4, 1922  Apr 28, 2019


Keith's funeral follows Monday at a 102-year-old Detroit church. Swanson Funeral Home on West McNichols Road lists details of both observances:

Visitation, Saturday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 11 at the Wright Museum, 315 E. Warren Ave. in Detroit's Cultural Center. Services begin at 5 p.m., led by officers of Alpha Phi Alpha and Sigma Pi Phi, national fraternities he belonged to.

Funeral, Monday: 10 a.m. Monday at Hartford Memorial , 18700 James Couzens Hwy., a block south of Seven Mile Road.
Two prominent Detroit clergymen -- Rev. Charles G. Adams and his son, Rev. Charles C. Adams -- will officiate. Other speakers will include national political, legal and civil rights figures.

Interment will follow at Roseland Park Cemetery on Woodward Avenue in Berkley.

Tributes can be posted at this "guest book" and donations may be made to the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School "to empower the next generation of civil rights leaders."

Checks can be payable to Wayne State University Law School, designating Keith Center for Civil Rights on the memo line. The address is Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, 471 W. Palmer St.., Detroit, MI 48202

An alternate beneficiary is the Dr. Rachel Boone Keith Prize Fund, which honors the judge's late wife, who died in 2007. That permanently endowed fund, established by her family, provide annual awards to one or more fourth-year African-American female students who demonstrate excellence in clinical performance at Boston University's School of Medicine.

Checks should be payable to Boston University Trustrees, designating the Rachel Boone Keith Fund. The address is BU School of Medicine, 75 Albany St., L219, Boston, MA 02118.

Earlier coverage:

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Potd_img_6223_257 Beautiful entrance to Spirit of Hope Church on Trumbull and Grand River avenues.

By: Michael Lucido