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May 15, 2017 | 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Category: Special Event
Location: Bernath Auditorium - Undergraduate Library
Cost: Free
Audience: Academic Staff, Alumni, Community, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Staff


Detroit civil rights attorney Bill Goodman will interview his personal friend, retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa Albie Sachs, about his extraordinary life as a human rights activist in South Africa. 

Judge Sachs was a major architect of South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution and is recognized globally as a champion of human rights.  Today, he continues his crusade for equality and justice by sharing his experience healing a divided nation with audiences around the world. 


Judge Sachs will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the Law School commencement.


Monday, May 15, 2017
10:30 a.m. Doors open

11 a.m. Program Begins

Bernath Auditorium - Undergraduate Library

5150 Anthony Wayne Drive


This event is free and open to the public.

Parking is available for $7.50, credit card only, in Structure 2, 5150 Lodge Service Drive.


Albie Sachs is a former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, with a career in human rights activism that started at the age of 17. His work as an advocate at the Cape Bar — defending people charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws — caused him to be raided by the security police, subjected to banning orders restricting his movement and eventually placed in solitary confinement without trial for two prolonged spells of detention.

Sachs went into exile in 1966. In 1988, he lost an arm and vision in one eye after a bomb placed in his car by South African security agents exploded. After recovering, he devoted himself full time to preparations for a new democratic constitution for South Africa. Returning to the country in 1990, he took an active part in the negotiations that led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy. After the first democratic election in 1994, Sachs was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court.


Bill Goodman is a partner in the civil rights firm Goodman & Hurwitz, P.C. He teaches constitutional litigation at Wayne State Law School and is the president of the Board of Directors at the Sugar Law Center for Social and Economic Justice. Bill has practiced civil rights and police misconduct law for 50 years. He represented the Detroit City Council in its historic and successful legal struggle to remove Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office. Over the years, he has represented thousands of inmates in cases that challenged inhumane and brutal conditions. He was involved in the criminal defense of Attica brothers and in the defense of former civil rights workers later elected as public officials in Alabama. He has as served the legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he initiated the stop-and-frisk litigation against the NYPD and helped design CCR’s strategy to fight the destruction of the Bill of Rights by the Bush Administration following 9/11. As a law student, he worked with a small African American law firm, Jordan, Dawley and Holt, in its challenges against official segregation throughout Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere.

For more information about this event, please contact the Office of Special Events and Services at 313-577-0300.