On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Peter J. Hammer, Professor of Law at Wayne State University Law School, and director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, and co-author of Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith.
In Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith, authors Peter J. Hammer and Trevor W. Coleman present the first ever biography of native Detroiter Judge Keith, surveying his education, important influences, major cases, and professional and personal commitments. Along the way, the authors consult a host of Keith's notable friends and colleagues, including former White House deputy counsel John Dean, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and industrialist Edsel Ford II for this candid and comprehensive volume.
For nearly 50 years, Federal Judge Damon J. Keith has persuasively and movingly defended the Constitution, helping communities enforce their civil rights. He has spoken truth to power from the bench, prohibiting President Nixon and the federal government from engaging in warrantless wiretapping and the Bush administration from conducting post-9/11 deportation hearings in secret.
Judge Keith decisions have desegregated public schools, broken color lines at corporations and required municipalities to repair the damage caused by systemic racism.
Born in Detroit, Michigan on July 4, 1922. He earned a B.A. degree in 1943 from West Virginia State College, his law degree in 1949 from Howard University School of Law and a Master’s of Law degree from Wayne State University of Law School. Judge Keith has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since 1977.
Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Keith served on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan – he was appointed in 1967 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, and as a member of the U.S. Army.