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The Honorable Damon J. Keith

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Information about The Honorable Damon J. Keith

Profile image of The Honorable Damon J. Keith

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Federal District Court Judge

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Peas (Black-Eyed)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Richmond, Virginia
Favorite Quote:
He Has Shown you, O Man, What Is Good. And What Does The Lord Require Of You? But To Act Justly, And To Love Mercy, And To Walk Humbly With Your God. - Micah 6:8

Birthplace

Born:
7/4/1922

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Federal District Court Judge

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Peas (Black-Eyed)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Richmond, Virginia
Favorite Quote:
He Has Shown you, O Man, What Is Good. And What Does The Lord Require Of You? But To Act Justly, And To Love Mercy, And To Walk Humbly With Your God. - Micah 6:8

Birthplace

Born:
7/4/1922
See how The Honorable Damon J. Keith is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Judge Damon J. Keith has had an illustrious career. Born on July 4, 1922, he has served as a United States Court of Appeals judge for the Sixth Circuit since 1977. Keith was the youngest of six children born to Annie and Perry Alexander Keith and the first to attend college. He graduated from West Virginia State College in 1943 and was then drafted into the military. His experiences in the segregated Army strengthened his conviction to the cause of civil rights. Keith received a J.D. from Howard Law School in 1949, passed the Michigan bar exam in 1950, and earned an L.L.M. from Wayne State University School of Law in 1956.

In 1964, Keith established his own law practice, Keith, Conyers, Anderson, Brown, & Wahls, with four other African American attorneys. Keith was also very active in the Democratic Party and used his political connections to help his community. He served as the chair to the Detroit Housing Commission and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Keith to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where he served as Chief Judge from 1975 to 1977 before President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Keith took senior status in 1995.

In 1993, the Damon J. Keith Law Collection, an archival resource devoted to the substantial historical accomplishments of African American lawyers and judges as well as the African American legal experience, was created at Wayne State University and named in his honor. Keith has received numerous awards and honors, including: thirty-eight honorary degrees from various colleges and universities; the NAACP's highest award, the Spingarn Medal; the 1997 American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award; the Detroit Urban League's 1998 Distinguished Warrior Award; the Distinguished Public Service Award for the National Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith; the prestigious Edward J. Devitt Award for Distinguished Service to Justice; the Pinnacle Award at the 2000 Trumpet Awards in Atlanta; and the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award in 2001.

Keith has also received the lifetime achievement award from the National Black College Alumni and was inducted into their Hall of Fame. Keith is married to Rachel Boone Keith, M.D., with whom he has three daughters.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Damon Keith interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Damon Keith's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Damon Keith remembers his parents and siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Damon Keith recalls growing up in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Damon Keith discusses a judicial decision he made on racial discrimination
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Damon Keith explains his relationship with his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Damon Keith talks about his decision to attend college and college experience
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Damon Keith describes his high school personality and interests
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Damon Keith remembers influential teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Damon Keith explains his motivation to attend Howard University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Damon Keith remembers experiences at West Virginia State College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Damon Keith discusses his reasoning for studying law
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Damon Keith talks about the separate but equal policy of the Southern states
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Damon Keith recalls experiences at Howard University Law School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Damon Keith talks about Thurgood Marshall's influence on his career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Damon Keith discusses various rulings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Damon Keith remembers lessons learned at Loomis, Jones, Piper and Colden
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Damon J. Keith's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls United States v. Sinclair (1971)
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes the legacy of United States v. United States District Court (1972)
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls Garrett v. Hamtramck (1974)
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls Stamps v. Detroit Edison Co. (1973)
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls Detroit Police Officers Association v. Young (1993)
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls his mentorship of baseball player Willie Horton
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith reflects on Willie Horton's baseball career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls the prosecution of Anthony Giacalone
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes the importance of openness to democracy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recounts working to advance African American jurists
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls the funeral of Rosa Parks
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes the legacy of Rosa Parks
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes his friendships with government officials
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes working with Lani Guinier
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith reflects upon the influence of Howard University School of Law
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes the legal struggle for integration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes the decline of Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes awards he received
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith remembers his late wife, Dr. Rachel Keith
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith reflects upon his family life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes how he would like to be remembered