Judge Damon J. Keith
Image courtesy WTVS Detroit Public Television
Interlochen Trustee Emeritus Judge Damon J. Keith (bottom row, second from left) with fellow Board of Trustees members in 1992.
On April 28, 2019, civil rights activist and Interlochen Center for the Arts trustee emeritus Judge Damon J. Keith died at his home in Detroit surrounded by family and friends. He was 96.
Judge Keith was born in Detroit, Michigan, and attended West Virginia State College before serving in World War II. After the war, he earned law degrees from Howard University and Wayne State University. He was appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1967.
In 1977, Keith was promoted to the United States Court of Appeals, becoming the sixth African American in U.S. history to serve on the federal court. Keith held his position until his death, making him one of the longest-tenured judges on the Court of Appeals.
In 1973, Keith was elected to the Interlochen Center for the Arts Board of Trustees. In 2004, he was named a trustee emeritus.
Keith was a tireless champion of civil rights, making a number of landmark decisions during his time on the bench.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, May 13 at 10 a.m. at the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. A simulcast of the event will be shown at Wayne State University's Community Arts Auditorium.