|U.S. Judge Damon Keith and U.S. Representative|
John Conyers, Jr.
Detroit — Wayne State University will receive Rep. John Conyers' papers from the 24 terms he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, it announced Thursday.
The Detroit Democrat gave the documents to the Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African American Legal History at the school's law school and includes documents that relate to Conyers' work in civil rights and social justice promotion. The school heralded Conyers as a "civil rights pioneer" and said the papers will be a resource for the public.
"I am flattered by the reference," Conyers said in an email to The News. "I feel very lucky and honored to have been there from thebeginningin the fight for civil rights — my fight to get the Martin Luther Day — and even now the assault on minority voting rights is happening across the nation."
His campaign pointed out that this donation is not a sign of retirement. Conyers is up for re-election this year.
The 40 years worth of papers will be available at the university's Reuther Library after they are processed. There have been previous requests to donate the papers, but the new center named in Keith's honor with a focus on civil rights issues compelled Conyers to donate and enlighten their studies.
"I am honored that Congressman Conyers has decided to donate his papers to the Keith Collection," said Judge Damon J. Keith in a statement. "As a U.S. representative and former chair of the House Judiciary Committee, he has made significant contributions as an African American in the law."
Conyers and Keith have a long history. Keith received an advanced degree in law from Wayne Law in 1956, and Conyers earned his law degree in 1958.
"Judge Keith and I share a lifelong friendship, and we are both alumni of Wayne Law," Conyers said in the release. "The Keith Collection was a natural fit for my materials."
The Keith Collection focuses on collecting and preserving African-American legal history including paperwork from African-American lawyers, judges and lawmakers.
I. India Geronimo, director of the collection, said in a statement that these papers will be valuable to anyone researching the country's civil rights movement.
"We are thrilled about the donation of these papers to the Keith Collection, as Conyers has been a tireless fighter for equality and a legend in protecting the civil rights of all people," he said.
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