Serving Metropolitan Detroit Since 1944

Judge Damon J. Keith will be missed

On Sunday, April 28 at approximately 6:40am, Senior United States Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith, one of America's most towering legal figures, passed away at home in Detroit, surrounded by his family. He was 96 years old. Judge Keith was one of the most influential Federal jurists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The grandson of slaves, his rulings in over 52 years on the bench had a profound impact on American life.

His decisions ranged from prohibiting the Nixon Administration from warrantless wiretapping in national security cases, to the integration of the Detroit Police Department and the Pontiac Public Schools. President Lyndon Johnson appointed him to the US District Court in 1967, where he later served as the Court's first African American Chief Judge. In 1977 he was elevated to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the nation's second-highest Court, by President Jimmy Carter. He was a family man possessed of uncommon humility, a leading patron of the arts, a mentor who opened doors to scores of aspiring lawyers and judges, and a proud Son of Detroit.

Funeral arrangements for U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith, is as follows:

A public visitation will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 East Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201. A fraternal memorial service by members of Alpha Phi Alpha and Sigma Phi Pi fraternities will be held at 5 p.m.

The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, May 13, at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens Freeway, Detroit, MI 48235. The service will be live streamed to the Community Arts Building at Wayne State University, 450 Reuther Mall, Detroit, MI 48202.

Interment will follow at Roseland Park Cemetery, 29001 N. Woodward Ave., Berkley, MI 48072.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following:

The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School to empower America's next generation of civil rights leaders. Make checks payable to Wayne State University Law School and specify "Keith Center for Civil Rights" on the memo line. Mail checks to Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, 471 W. Palmer St., Detroit, MI 48202. Donations may be made online at

Dr. Rachel Boone Keith Prize Fund at the School of Medicine at Boston University. Make checks payable Trustees of Boston University and specify "Rachel Boone Keith Fund" on the memo line. Mail checks to Boston University School of Medicine, 75 Albany Street, L219, Boston, MA 02118.

The Rachel Boone Keith Prize Fund is a permanently endowed fund established as a tribute by her family to provide annual awards to one or more fourth-year African-American female students who demonstrate excellence in clinical performance at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by The Swanson Funeral Home, Inc. (O'Neil D. Swanson President-Executive Director, and Linda E. Swanson, Executive Vice President, 14751 W. McNichols Rd .; Detroit, MI 48235; 313-272-9000 or 313-923-1122).


Reader Comments(0)