A civil rights champion and legend, Morris Dees has risked his life and personal fortune to battle racist and bigoted hate groups for more than 40 years, and the organization he formed, the Southern Poverty Law Center, has become a leader in fighting and tracking extremists. Mr. Dees first saw the raw prejudice and hate of white supremacy when he witnessed the harassment of the first African-American student to attend a previously all-white university. Following graduation, Mr. Dees went into private practice, as well as formed a multimillion-dollar publishing and direct mail venture. After reading the autobiography of famed lawyer Clarence Darrow, who defended Detroit physician Ossian Sweet, Mr. Dees had an awakening and he decided to sell his business and specialize in civil rights cases. In 1971, Mr. Dees, fellow attorney Joseph J. Levin Jr. and civil rights activist Julian Bond formed the Montgomery-based, non-profit the Southern Poverty Law Center dedicated to "combat hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation." The Southern Poverty Law Center has continued to grow in scope, size and importance, fighting discrimination in the courts.
In honor of Mr. Dees' appearance, there will be a special viewing of the quilt "Strange Fruit" created by noted fiber artist, April Shipp. This masterful and poignant quilt depicts the known lynchings of African-Americans and others, which have occurred in the United States. The quilt has been displayed in several museums around the country.
Detroit Unity Temple is located at 17505 Second Ave., in Detroit. In October 2016, the church celebrated 100 years of service to the Detroit community, making it one of the oldest continually operating churches in Detroit. Sunday services are at 10am. All people are welcome. 313-345-4848, www.detroitunity.com