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Luther "Badman" Keith

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Information about Luther "Badman" Keith

Profile image of Luther "Badman" Keith

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Editor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Tennessee
Favorite Quote:
Be Part Of The Change. Make It Happen.

Birthplace

Born:
10/9/1950
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Editor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Tennessee
Favorite Quote:
Be Part Of The Change. Make It Happen.

Birthplace

Born:
10/9/1950
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how Luther "Badman" Keith is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Journalist Luther Alton Keith was born on October 9, 1950 in Detroit, Michigan to Mittie Savella Ashworth and Luther Caesar Keith. Keith’s father was a postal employee who founded the United Committee on Negro History. Keith attended Sampson and St. Agnes elementary schools. He graduated from Cathedral High School in 1968. He then studied at the University of Detroit, where he was mentored by Mary Helen Washington and graduated with a B.A. degree in journalism in 1972.

Hired by The Detroit News in 1972, Keith served as a general assignment reporter before becoming a sportswriter in 1973. In 1979, Keith worked as the state capital bureau correspondent specializing in economic and budget issues and writing periodic columns on state legislative issues. He was also a frequent commentator on the “Off The Record” television program. Keith was appointed assistant city editor in 1982 where he directed local coverage in the criminal courts and directed a five-person news team.

Taking a two year leave of absence, Keith served as founding director of Wayne State University’s Journalism Institute for Minorities from 1985 to 1987. He returned to The Detroit News as Assistant City Editor in 1987 and Night City Editor in 1988. From 1988 to 2005, Keith worked in a number of positions for The Detroit News, including features writer, copy editor, business editor, assistant managing editor, public editor, senior editor and columnist. Keith was the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award from Wayne State University in 1987 and the Ameritech Living the Dream Trailblazer Award in 1999, Keith became the youngest person ever to be inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame in 1995. In 1993, Keith created On Detroit, a weekly grassroots mini newspaper that ran until 2003. He was honored with the Excellence in Urban Media Award from the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists in 2001 and Wayne State’s Helen Thomas Diversity in Journalism Award in 2005.

Keith, inspired by Luther Allison and mentored by James Soberg of the Luther Allison Band, started playing the blues guitar in 1981. He now performs internationally as Luther “Badman” Keith. Keith has produced several CD’s including, Badman and Thunder in My Blues. In 2006, he founded and served as executive director of Arise Detroit, a broad-based volunteer coalition that addresses illiteracy, high school dropout rates, crime, youth violence, drug abuse, domestic abuse, neighborhood blight and unemployment.

Keith and his wife, Jacqueline, have one child, Erin.

Keith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 9, 2007.

See how Luther "Badman" Keith is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Luther "Badman" Keith's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his mother's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his mother's birthplace in Wilson County, Tennessee
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith recounts his mother's education and how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his father's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls his father's community service in Detroit, Michigan and meeting Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his father's influence and his own interest in journalism
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his paternal grandfather's businesses in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his parents' personalities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith remembers the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his childhood household and the 1967 Detroit riot
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his memories of the 1967 Detroit riot
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon race relations after the 1967 Detroit riot
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls his years at St. Agnes Catholic School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes learning about African American accomplishments as a child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls the racial makeup of St. Agnes Catholic School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his blue eyes and fair complexion
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls his years at Cathedral High School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about receiving a scholarship to attend the University of Detroit
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about playing baseball and writing for the school paper while at the University of Detroit
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his first job and working at the Detroit News
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his literature professor at the University of Detroit, Mary Helen Washington
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Luther "Badman" Keith explains the joint operating agreement between the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls how his uncle, HistoryMaker Damon J. Keith, helped him get his first reporting job at the Detroit News
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about becoming a sports writer for the Detroit News
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about switching from sports writing to covering Michigan politics and economic issues for the Detroit News
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon his efforts to encourage diversity in journalism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes some of the best stories of his journalistic career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith explains how he helped create On Detroit, a public-interest section in the Detroit News
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon covering controversial political topics in his Detroit News column
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes working as a senior editor for the Detroit News
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon the obstacles African Americans face in the journalism field
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about writing a controversial column on corporate greed and prominent black writers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith recounts how he became a blues musician under the mentorship of Luther Allison
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his early music career and the origin of his nickname
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls performing in Belgium
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes themes in his blues music compositions
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his style of blues music
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes the beginning of Arise Detroit
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about Arise Detroit and the need for activism in the Detroit, Michigan community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his goals for Arise Detroit
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about the need for individuals to help the Detroit, Michigan community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about how Arise Detroit has partnered with other service organizations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about what he would do differently
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his resemblance to Muhammad Ali
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon his legacy, and how he would like to be remembered, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith narrates his photographs