Program to commemorate Civil Rights Act

The history and modern significance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will be the focus of a Wayne State University Law School program Monday, Nov. 3, marking the legislation’s 50th anniversary.

The program, “The 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” will take place from 12:15 to 1:20 p.m. in Lecture Hall 2242 of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at the law school, 471 W. Palmer St. The event is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided. No registration is necessary. Parking will be available for $7 (credit and debit cards only) in Structure No. 1 across West Palmer Street from Wayne Law.

Speakers will be:

• Professor Peter J. Hammer, director of the Keith Center. He has become a leading voice on the economic and social issues impacting the city of Detroit and has added new courses to the law school curriculum on “Race, Law and Social Change in Southeast Michigan” and “Re-Imagining Development in Detroit: Institutions, Law & Society.” He’ll offer an overview of the Civil Rights Act and its impact 50 years later. Hammer is leading the law school’s new Detroit Equity Action Lab, funded by a $1.3 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, working with leaders of local organizations to address issues of structural racism in Detroit. He earned bachelor’s degrees from Gonzaga University and a law degree and doctorate in economics from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Michigan. He sits on the Population Health Council of the Detroit-Wayne County Health Authority, as well as serving on the Advisory Board of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Housing Project Partnership of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion.

• Rachel Myung, an articles editor for The Journal of Law and Society at Wayne Law and a teaching assistant at the law school. A second-year law student, she earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and women’s studies at the University of Michigan. She’ll speak on behalf of the Women’s Law Caucus about the Civil Rights Act from the perspective of gender equality in the workplace.

• Cecil Roberson, president of the Black Law Student Association at Wayne Law and a student attorney with the Free Legal Aid Clinic. He’s a second-year law student with bachelor’s degrees in advertising and journalism from Michigan State University and a master of business administration degree from Eastern Michigan University. Roberson will discuss the Civil Rights Act today from the perspective of racial equality.

•Distinguished Professor of Law Robert A. Sedler, who teaches courses in Constitutional Law and Conflict of Laws at Wayne Law. Sedler is the organizer of the anniversary event. He’ll discuss the legislative history of the Civil Rights Act. Sedler has garnered many awards and honors and is world-renowned in his field. Prior to coming to Wayne State in 1977, he was a professor of law at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Sedler earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1956 and his law degree from the same university in 1959. He has litigated a large number of civil rights and civil liberties cases in Michigan, Kentucky and elsewhere, mostly as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union.

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