WXYZ DETROIT — He lived an extraordinary life by this legal tenet: "Equal Justice Under Law." In his 96 years on earth, Detroit Federal Judge Damon J. Keith touched America and countless people from all walks of life. He was a champion of human and civil rights.
From his humble beginnings in the Motor City, he made the most of his education from West Virginia State, Howard and Wayne State University Law Schools. He sharpened his skills with legal giants Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston and Constance Baker Motley.
When the time came for Judge Keith to issue his opinion on landmark cases, he was ready! Education, housing, law enforcement, racial discrimination and presidential wiretapping. In 50 years on the bench, he ruled on it all with courage.
In the community, he was a beloved powerbroker who used his respect to crusade for Detroit integration and institutions. As a mentor, he groomed some of the nation’s most accomplished lawyers and public servants. He was a trusted friend of people in the streets, as well as the corporate suites. His office walls were a photographic museum and a reminder that everyone from Willie Horton to Oprah Winfrey, and from Rosa Parks to Nelson Mandela, wanted to rub elbows with “The Judge.”
There weren’t too many awards or honorary degrees that escaped Judge Keith’s grasp. As a legal and civil rights icon, he was always in demand.
His professional legacy will show he was a tireless crusader for justice. But his personal legacy will show he was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and a positive role model for generations of Americans.
I’m Mike Murri, V.P. & General Manager
Broadcast: May 2 - 5, 2019