Wayne Law symposium addresses race, racism and law

The Journal of Law in Society at Wayne State University Law School presented its 2016 symposium, “A Tribute to Professor Emeritus Edward J. Littlejohn and His Work with Race, Racism, and the Law,” on Friday, March 11.

The symposium paid tribute to Littlejohn’s scholarship, work in the city of Detroit and time on the Law School faculty. Littlejohn, one of the leading experts on African-American legal history, played an instrumental role in the implementation of the Detroit Police Commission and served on the law school faculty during tumultuous times in the 1970s. Littlejohn gave the keynote address.

Those offering remarks included Wayne Law Dean Jocelyn Benson; Professor Peter J. Hammer, director of Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights; Judge Damon J. Keith, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and earned his master of laws degree from Wayne Law in 1956; third-year student Rachel Myung, journal editor-in-chief; and third-year student Sean Riddell, symposium director.

Panel discussion topics and panelists were:

• “The Past, Present, and Future of Michigan’s Black Lawyers and Judges” with Hon. Dennis Archer, chairman emeritus of Dickinson Wright PLLC; Hon. Dalton Roberson, retired Wayne County Circuit Court judge; Hon. Denise Page Hood, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; and moderator Blanche Cook, Wayne Law assistant professor.

• “The Struggle for Racial Diversity in Legal Education” with Carl Edwards, Wayne Law class of 1974, partner with Edwards & Jennings PC; Ericka Jackson, class of 1997, WSU director of undergraduate admissions and former Wayne Law assistant dean of admissions and student affairs; Michael Steinberg, class of 1989, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan; and moderator Robert Sedler, Wayne Law distinguished professor.

• “Citizens’ Efforts to Hold Police Accountable for Misconduct” with Julie Hurwitz, partner with Goodman & Hurwitz PC; Barbara McQuade, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan; Yusef “Bunchy” Shakur, owner of Urban Network; and moderator Eric Williams, Wayne Law assistant (clinical) professor.