Public memorial set for ex-Detroit councilman Kwame Kenyatta

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News
Former Detroit city council member Kwame Kenyatta will be honored during a memorial service June 22 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Detroit — A public memorial has been set to honor the life and legacy of former Detroit City Councilman Kwame Kenyatta.

The memorial celebration will take place at 10:30 a.m. June 22 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, according to an announcement shared by former colleagues and Kenyatta's relatives. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. in advance of the service at the museum, 315 E. Warren Ave.

The longtime community activist and public servant died May 22. He was 63. 

Kenyatta served more than 15 years in three elected offices, including nearly eight years on Detroit's council, the Wayne County Commission and Detroit school board.

Kenyatta's son Kofi Kenyatta previously said that the family intended to hold a private service in Alabama, in accordance with his father's wishes, followed by a public celebration of his life in Detroit. 

On Detroit's council, Kenyatta frequently formed a voting bloc with council members JoAnn Watson and Brenda Jones. They opposed moves such as selling the Rackham Golf Course in Huntington Woods to developers and leasing Belle Isle to the state government.

Former colleagues remembered Kenyatta's dedicated fight for justice and equality. 

Kenyatta resigned from council in June 2013 because of an unspecified health issue.

He opposed the state's takeover and complained that council was powerless under Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who took over running the city after then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder declared that Detroit was in financial distress. 

"May God bless the people of the City of Detroit and return freedom and justice to them," he wrote in his resignation letter.

According to the announcement, cards and condolences may be sent to the Kenyatta Family, 20501 Livernois Ave. #21457 Detroit, MI 48221.