Michigan was first state to mandate civil rights commission in its constitution

Aug 28, 2013

The year 1963 was a pivotal one for civil rights in America.  There was the March on Washington, the murder of activist Medgar Evers and the forced integration of the University of Alabama. 

In Michigan, two key events happened that year.  The first was the "Game of Change" in East Lansing.  Loyola University's integrated basketball squad played an all-white team from MSU.  Not Michigan State University...but Mississippi State University.  The other event in 1963 was a more quiet affair.  The brand new Michigan Constitution guaranteed the creation of a civil rights commission -- the first such enactment in the country.

Current State's Kevin Lavery speaks with Michigan Department of Civil Rights interim director Leslee Fritz about her agency.  They took their conversation to the hardwood for some one-on-one.

Michigan Department of Civil Rights interim director Leslee Fritz stands outside the Jenison Field House at Michigan State University. The building was the site of the "Game of Change." On March 15, 1963, an integrated team from Loyola University defeated an all-white squad from Mississippi State University. The Mississippi team left their state in secret, in defiance of the governor and legislature.
Credit Kevin Lavery / WKAR