Wayne State Honors Civil Rights Activist Viola Gregg Liuzzo

The University will award its first posthumous honorary degree to Luizzo for her contribution to civil rights.

Wayne State will be holding an honorary degree ceremony to honor Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a Wayne state student who died in 1965 march at Selma, at 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 10, 2015, in the Spencer Partrich Auditorium at Wayne State, and a tree or green space in the law courtyard  will also be dedicated to her name permanently. In addition there will be a talk by Morris  Dees, the co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center, on Monday, April 13, in the annual Dean Robb Public Interest Lecture series. Find out more here.

For today, join Stephen Henderson and guest Kim Trent from the Wayne State Board of Governors for a conversation on recognizing Viola Gregg Liuzzo’s contribution to the civil rights movement. They talk about Wayne State’s plan to award her an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree as well as dedicate space in the law courtyard to recognize her achievements permanently.

Kim Trent expresses that Liuzzo’s story is receiving more attention after the Selma movie but there is still much to the story the public hasn’t heard. Even after her death her family experienced many tribulations from both the public and the government. As a white activist and mother she faced prejudice from her own communities for wanting to involve herself with the African American Civil Rights movement and in the end she gave her life for the cause. Trent notes that “she as a person was very progressive and loved all of humanity,” and her death, the assassination of a white woman fighting for African American rights, played a major part in the voting rights movement, but her situation also echoes the issues modern society is currently facing regarding how colored lives are valued differently than white lives.

Additionally Stephen and Trent talk about Wayne’s efforts to improve minority graduation rates and inclusiveness in education. They go over Wayne State’s progress in building and working on inclusive college facilities, strategies students may need before they enter college, and how these have affected the college’s diversity.