The Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) recognized the lifetime efforts of iconic civil rights attorney Morris Dees at its recent annual dinner held at Marygrove College in Detroit.
Cary McGehee, firm co-founder and longtime MCHR Chair, presented Dees with the organization’s Bishop H. Coleman McGehee Jr. Champion of Justice award for his 50 years of commitment to human rights causes.
The award is named in honor of Cary’s late father, who founded MCHR in 1980 with Rabbi Richard Hertz and Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton amid a growing conservative climate in religion and politics.
“Morris Dees is a legendary civil rights attorney who has devoted his professional life to advancing the cause of civil and human rights,” said McGehee. “Morris has also been a great friend to our law firm and MCHR for many years.”
Dees, who also delivered the evening’s key note address entitled “Justice in a Changing America,” is co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The SPLC is noted for its successful legal cases against the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups to gain justice on behalf of their victims. The Center is internationally-known for tracking and reporting the activities of hate groups and hate crimes.
Last summer Dees and the SPLC hosted a visit by MCHR-sponsored Freedom Tour to its offices in Montgomery, Alabama. The Freedom Tour took 25 Michigan high school students on a 10-day tour educational tour through Deep South visiting historical sites of the civil rights movement.