Keith Center receives $56,000 donation from estate


 Attorney Aubrey V. McCutcheon Jr. and Deacon Robert Brown, trustees of the estate of John Thomas Hall, presented a check in the amount of $56,000 to Wayne State University Law School’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at the Keith Center during a brief ceremony on Friday, Jan. 20.

For more than 50 years, Hall and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith served the congregation of the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church when it was located at 6125 Beechwood Ave. in Detroit under the pastoral leadership of the late Rev. Dr. Frederick G. Sampson II and the late Rev. Dr. Jesse J. McNeil.  Hall was general superintendent of the Sunday Church School for many years; Keith served as an ordained deacon at the church. A retired U.S. postal worker, Hall died July 1, 2009, at age 90. He had no survivors.
“I vividly recall the discussion between Mr. Hall and his caregiver, Deacon Emmett Grimmett, when plans for the Keith Center were first disclosed,” McCutcheon said. “I know John Hall would be delighted with the building as completed and honored by the knowledge that his contribution will foster the fulfillment of its announced purpose. Mr. Hall greatly admired the contributions of Judge Keith to the church and the community.” 
“We are very grateful for this most generous donation and delighted that Mr. Hall’s personal convictions and respect for Judge Keith will be translated into programs that will carry out his vision for civil rights,” said Peter Hammer, professor of law and director of the Keith Center.
The Keith Center honors the life and legacy of Keith, civil rights icon, one of the country’s leading jurists, and a 1956 Wayne Law alumnus. By developing programs and opportunities that promote his vision of equality and justice under the law for all people, the Keith Center is advancing learning at Wayne Law, encouraging community engagement, and promoting civil rights in one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities in the United States. For additional information, visit


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