Welcome to the Keith Collection

The Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African American Legal History was established in 1993 to meet the need for a central repository for the nation’s African American legal history. The Collection is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and providing resources pertaining to African American legal history, including the history of prominent African American lawyers, judges, and lawmakers, and others whose service to the community reflects an interest in and commitment to civil rights and social justice.  The Collection contains papers and other materials documenting the experience of African Americans and the law, nationally, with a particular emphasis on Michigan.  Upon the founding contribution of papers by the Honorable Damon J. Keith, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Keith Collection was firmly established. The Collection is a partnership between the Walter P. Reuther Library, a world-renowned archival repository, and the Wayne State University Law School and is available for research by scholars, students and the general public.

The Honorable Damon J. Keith

"Through Howard University Law School, we came to know these lawyers who are legends today in African American legal history. They include: Charles H. Houston, Thurgood Marshall, William H. Hastie Jr., James Nabrit Jr., Spottswood Robinson III, George E. C. Hayes…. They taught us that the Constitution was our best hope; that equality would come through the law."

− The Honorable Damon J. Keith