Wayne State honors slain civil rights activist with honorary degree

DETROIT (AP) - Wayne State University has honored a former student and Detroit mother fatally shot by Klansmen while shuttling demonstrators after the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march.

An honorary doctor of laws degree was awarded last Friday to Viola Gregg Liuzzo for her contributions to society.

It's the first posthumous honorary degree in the 145-year-old school's history. Wayne State also dedicated a plaque in her name. Four of Liuzzo's five children attended the ceremony.

Liuzzo was a 39-year-old nursing student when she drove to Alabama to help in the civil rights movement. She was struck in the head by shots fired from a passing car. Her black passenger, 19-year-old Leroy Moton, was wounded.

Three Ku Klux Klan members were convicted of federal charges in Liuzzo's death.

Published: Tue, Apr 14, 2015