Book Beat JUdge Keith Leni Sinclair

Federal Judge Damon J. Keith

Damon J. Keith was born in Detroit, Michigan, on July 4, 1922. He is a graduate of West Virginia State College (B.A. 1943), Howard University Law School (J.D. 1949) and Wayne State University Law School (LL.M. 1956). In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Keith to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where he ultimately served as chief judge. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1977. As a member of the federal judiciary, Judge Keith has been a courageous defender of constitutional rights, giving real meaning to the promise of "equal justice under law."

Wayne Kramer: Interview & Lecture

Detroit is the heart of the industrial Midwest, nowadays referred to as the Rust Belt. But in the '50's and '60's, after World War II, Detroit was booming. It was a blue-collar factory, manufacturing center, pretty much the manufacturing center of the universe. If you wanted it built, you could build it in Detroit. It gave rise to an entire culture built around work in industry and manufacturing. After World War II and the Korean War, there was a great immigration to the cities in the North to look for work there. So the entire culture revolved around work and essentially, work in the factories.

Harold McKinney

Harold McKinney (1928-2001) was a composer, pianist, band leader and jazz educator in the Detroit area. He combined a deep knowledge of classical music, with an early love of hard Bop. McKinney toured and played with many giants such as Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Yusef Lateef and Kenny Burrell. Along with Wendell Harrison, McKinney began the Tribe collective, a label, magazine and a creative outlook on urban self-determination. McKinney was a gifted synesthete who saw colors as sound and sound as colors. His finest accomplishment was the training and musical education he gave to generations of local students. "We have always had an open-door policy for our  youth," McKinney (said).

Ann Mikolowski

"We don’t generally think of a painter as being self-effacing, but that is exactly what makes Ann Mikolowski’s paintings so special. The conundrum is that there are no signature brushstrokes, no palette she favors, and no overt signs of her personality in her realist paintings. She used photographs to get her subject matter, but she was neither a photorealist nor someone who perfected a machinelike approach. When we consider that her two recurring subjects are landscape and portraiture, both of which we think of as being inseparable from the artist’s style—and here I am thinking of Alex Katz, Alice Neel, and Lucian Freud—the fact that she eschewed every kind of overt mannerism becomes all the more remarkable. It would be a mistake, however, to think that these are signs of her modesty, because, if anything, they are a confirmation of her deep and unshakeable confidence in both herself and her project."

Ken Mikolowski

Born and raised in Detroit, poet and editor Ken Mikolowski earned a BA at Wayne State University. He is the author of several poetry collections, including Big Enigmas (1991), Little Mysteries (1979), and Thank You Call Again (1973). In the 1960s Mikolowski founded the Alternative Press in Detroit’s Cass Corridor with his late wife, the painter Ann Mikolowski. As the press’s editor for 30 years, Mikolowski published—as unbound letterpress-printed mail art—the work of local Detroit poets as well as nationally recognized Beat and Black Mountain poets, including Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsberg.