CBCF Issues Statement on the Passing of Civil Rights Icon and One of America’s Most Influential Federal Jurists, The Honorable Damon J. Keith

April 29, 2019                                                                                          

CJ Epps

WASHINGTON—The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) released the following statement on the passing of Judge Damon J. Keith.

“The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. mourns the passing of our dear friend, the Honorable Judge Damon J. Keith, senior U.S. circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and a former U.S. district judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

“Judge Damon J. Keith was a legal giant who devoted his life to improving the lives of others across this nation. A grandson of slaves, he spent more than half a century as a courageous advocate for those who suffered discrimination. He was a lifelong champion of justice and equality, and the embodiment of what it means to be a public servant.

“As one of our nation’s most influential and pioneering jurists, Judge Keith stood alongside countless others calling for transformative and fundamental change to voting rights, desegregating public schools and breaking through race-based inequities and disparities caused by systemic racism. He understood the need for public confidence in the court system and in so many ways promoted an inclusive and participatory democracy—proving that the law can be a strong, deft instrument of positive and lasting change.

Dr. Elsie Scott, CBCF’s interim president and CEO shared that, “CBCF has been fortunate to count Judge Keith among our supporters. He swore in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) officers of the 110th Congress with the then incoming CBC chair, former Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. I saw him last in 2014 when he and the late Rep. John Dingell were recognized during CBCF’s Annual Legislative Conference. I remember him sharing that he was still working because he felt that there were still problems and issues that he needed to address.”

“We join others throughout the nation in extending our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and judicial and legal associates.”

Established in 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and educational institute committed to advancing the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public. For more information, visit


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