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Judge Damon Keith Remembers Dr. King’s Milestone Moments In Detroit

January 21 2013 | no comments

The great march to freedom.

Tens of thousands of people filled Woodward Avenue on that day in June of 1963 to march with Dr. Martin Luther King. And Damon Keith was there.

“I don’t know what triggered that type of enthusiasm. I wish I could tell you that,” Judge Keith said.

“It was just something that exploded and we were all up and down Woodward, marching,” he added. “I was a young man at the time and I was just thrilled-thrilled to be a part of it because we were fighting for freedom.”

The long-time federal judge is 90 years old now.

He’s been a crusader for civil rights his entire life-and the hundreds of photographs on display in his chambers–reflect that. Also as vivid as a snap shot in time are his memories of that day 50 years ago this coming June—and the speech inside Cobo Arena-delivered by Doctor King.

The speech got much more attention two months later when he delivered it again from the steps of the lincoln memorial. But the detroit march.. And Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech at Cobo Arena remains a milestone moment in the struggle for social change in America.

“Everyone wanted to be a part of this. In the middle of segregation, everything happening like that. We just wanted to be identified with this man who was fighting for freedom and justice and equality and equal opportunity for all people in a quiet, peaceful, non-violent manner.  That’s historic,” Judge Keith told Detroit 2020.

Judge Keith says we’ve come a long way as a country.  His life and accomplishments are an example of what is possible in today’s America.  But too often…still…this federal judge says.. blacks are judged by the color of their skin.. and not the content of their character.

Click here to go to the Damon J. Keith Center For Civil Rights website.



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